Making the office more active can improve your health

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - From transportation to communication, we've managed to take movement out of our lives.

Various studies show we spend about nine hours a day sitting, uch of that happening in the workplace.

Dr. George Wright of Topeka's Cotton O'Neil Clinic says it's taking a toll on our health.

"The back pain, knee pain. Certainly it sets us up for obesity. We certainly are seeing more and more people with difficulties with elevated blood pressure, diabetes," he said.

In his own office, Dr. Wright switched to a standing desk. Making sure you stand up regularly is among tips he and other health experts have for fostering an active office.

They also advise re-engineering your work environment . Consider things like mobile phone headsets so you can move around while you talk; sitting on bounce balls; or taking out chairs.

"I've heard of various industries here in town that conduct standing meetings as opposed to sitting at a meeting table," Wright said.

You also could walk or bicycle to work, and if that's not an option, look for a parking spot that's further away.

At work, make it a point to move more. Take the stairs, set items you use further out of reach, choose a longer route to get to your desk, and don't fall into the tech trap.

"If you have to discuss something with a coworker, get up and go see them eye to eye as opposed to emailing them or talking on the phone," Dr. Wright said.

Finally, take an active lunch break. Fitness doesn't always need to come in hour-long sweat sessions.

"I think anytime you get up and move around it's helpful," Dr. Wright. "I think something that's been helpful to many people are some of the fitness devices that really hold their feet to the fire. The adage of 10,000 steps in a day is a great choice, but how do you know?"

Reversing the trend can make a different. A review of several studies found those who sat the most had a 112-percent increase in their risk of developing diabetes and a 147-percent increase in their risk for heart disease.

Another study found that each hour spent sitting in front of the television shortens your life 21.8 minutes.