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We understand that some people won’t or can’t use a standing workstation. But moving more while seated is possible. Whether you sit all the time or rotate between sitting and standing, these are three ways to keep moving.

1) Breathe

This isn’t so much about moving as it is about avoiding the tendency to curl up like a shrimp while sitting at a desk, straining your neck, shoulders, back, and on down the line. When seated, get into a shape that allows you to take a deep breath. If you can’t breathe deeply into your belly, it’s a sign that you’re not in a movement-friendly position. Once you’re where you can breathe fully, then you can think about starting to move more.

2) Gear up

We recommend two things to help you move more while sitting. One is a fidget bar. There are several of these footrest devices on the market that provide a little resistance as you swing them or push against them. (You can use them with standing desks too.)

The other item we recommend is a chair that allows for greater movement of the torso. The “active seating” category includes chairs, stools, and balls. We don’t have a favorite, just an overall rule of thumb: Your desk chair should not resemble a cozy little alcove for you to slump into.

3) Rise up

Baseball has the seventh-inning stretch; you can have the half-hour stretch. Do whatever it takes to remind yourself to get out of your chair every 30 minutes. Set an electronic alert on your computer or an alarm on your watch — and obey it! Get up for a minute or more and move (try these one-minute moves to refresh your mind and body). If you can’t stand up, use that alert to just move more within the confines of your chair.

Sitting for long periods might be common, but it can undermine your health. For more, see “The Vital Role Standing — Versus Sitting — Plays in Your Health” from which this article was excerpted. 

Kelly Starrett, DPT, and Juliet Starrett

Kelly Starrett, DPT, is a physical therapist and the coauthor of Built to Move, Becoming a Supple Leopard, Ready to Run, and Deskbound. He is also the cofounder of The Ready State, which offers daily guided mobility training and other resources to help athletes stay pain-free. Juliet Starrett is the coauthor of Built to Move and Deskbound, and cofounder and CEO of The Ready State.

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