If you find yourself sitting down for most of the work day only to get home and sit some more, you are not alone. According to U.S. News and World Reports, 86 percent of Americans sit for most of their work day. This can have dramatic effects on your physical and mental health. Indeed, the more you sit, the less motivated you are likely to get things done.
Mixing in some movement can help. “Interspersing short movements and exercises throughout the workday can boost employee energy, engagement and efficiency,” says sports scientist Jack Groppel. “ Whether it’s stretching periodically in your cubicle or walking to a coworker’s desk rather than sending that intra-office email, small actions can go a long way toward improving both individual and company performance.”
What can you do if you don’t have a lot of time to “move” throughout the workday but want the benefits? Take “movement breaks” throughout the day. Five minutes to walk around the office, climb the stairs, stretch or practice deep breathing can totally refocus you and ensure that your time working is as productive as possible. In addition to increased productivity, your creativity will increase and you will gain satisfaction knowing that the time you dedicate to work is time well spent. Plus, the frustration you might feel from lack of focus will dissipate and leave more energy for the things outside of work that bring you joy.
If you want to be more productive, follow these 5 easy steps (pun intended).
Change your posture.
Movement affects our mood which in turn affects our thinking. Thinking positively leads to a positive mood. Research shows that our posture can affect our emotions. Changing your posture can help change your mind and actually increase your self-esteem and confidence. Practice sitting up with your shoulders down and chin slightly raised to enhance that mind body boost of confidence.
2. Use hand gestures.
Hand gestures facilitate acquisition of knowledge and new skills. Think about how we engage our children in creative play to enhance their knowledge and love of learning. Using our imaginations, as adults, taps into that same principle. Engaging our imaginations helps us to problem solve and pick up new language skills as well.
3. Take a walk.
Exercising elevates energy levels, activates muscles and increases blood flow, which signals our brains to re-energize and build focus. All of this leads to increased productivity.
4. Engage the senses.
Drink plenty of water, breathe in some fresh air, surround yourself with pleasant sounds and, whenever possible, massage your shoulders or other parts of your body that feel sore and tight. Engaging our senses orients us to the present moment, making it easier to focus, pay attention and manage our time more effectively.
5. Remember to breathe.
Take the time to intentionally breathe throughout the day. Not only do deep breaths bring oxygen to the brain, but they also can relax tense muscles, and even keep you from making a rash decision.
Originally published at medium.com