Being at a desk all day long can be challenging for someone living an otherwise active lifestyle. You may go from hitting impressive outputs straight to sitting at the office and forget that you need to keep the blood flowing even when you’re powering through your work. Settling into a sedentary position for for too long is usually a surefire way to lose motivation, drive and overall energy to get through the day, but there are things you can do to reverse that. We talked with Peloton Tread instructor Becs Gentry to get the scoop on what she does to feel more energized when she’s sitting for too long.
Stay On Your Feet
While it may sound counterintuitive, Becs notes that including more movement throughout your day is the best way to feel more energized–this includes fitting in your workout! “Personally I love getting my runs done as one of the very first things I do in the morning–it really sets me up for the day,” says Becs. Specifically, she notes that HIIT training will allow for increased “after burn time” meaning that your body will continue to work hard for long after you’ve completed your workout compared to training that’s done at a more steady pace. And if you’re able to take your workout outside, Becs says there are added advantages for improving your energy levels. “Getting as much fresh air and natural light is another great way to boost your energy levels naturally and stay away from too much caffeine.”
Once you’re at the office, don’t forget how important it is to keep moving throughout your day. A way that Becs does this is by making sure to stand up and move around once every hour. “I use the ‘stand’ function on my Apple Watch to ensure I move for a few minutes every 60 minutes–it is one of the most simple functions but really makes me aware of how long I sit for,” says Becs. If you don’t have a smart device? No problem. Becs suggests to just set an alarm somehow. “Add an alarm to your phone so you make sure to get a nudge in the right direction.” She also suggest to use this time in transit efficiently. “I make sure I drink a minimum of one tall glass of water an hour–this aides my movement in order to refill in the kitchen and also to use the bathroom!”
Stretch Right at Your Desk
If sitting for a while is making you feel stiff, another way to feel more energized is to stretch right in your seat. Becs uses movements to loosen up the parts of her body that may feel the most tense after long periods of sitting all the way from her head to her toes. “A neck stretch is an easy one to do without leaving your desk,” says Becs. “You can increase the intensity by pulling your right arm down the right side of your body and then use your left hand to lean your head in the opposite direction to the left–hold for 20-30 seconds and then make sure to repeat on the other side.” Need to work through some brain fog? Becs finds that opening the front of her body is what does this best for her. “Clasp your hands together behind your back and extend them away towards the floor,” says Becs, “as you do so, widen across your shoulders and push your chest forward and upward.” Finally, Becs says even subtle movements in your lower body can help to increase blood flow and loosen up your feet and legs. “Roll through your feet on the floor from tip toes to heels floor multiples times–this simulates movement and can boost the blood circulation in the lower body which helps to feel a bit more alive!”
Engage Your Senses
In addition to more movement, Becs uses a few other strategies that help her stay focused and feel more energized when she’s sitting in one place for a while. One method to stimulate her senses fits right in her bag. “I always keep a small hard spiky ball with me,” says Becs. “I remove my shoes and roll my feet out on it or I carry my ‘bed of nails’ with me and stand on it to really fire up the brain. Both of these stimulate neurological pathways and they can help concentration as well as release knots and tightness in the soles of your feet.” If eye strain is a problem for you, take the time to give yourself a new view. “I once read that you should shift your eyes every 20 minutes onto something that is around 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds,” says Becs, and notes that this has been an effective tool for staying without getting sidetracked. Finally, don’t forget to follow your nose! “I use orange as an invigorating scent,” she says. “An old boss of mine was a top British perfumer and he said that no matter what environment you are in, if someone begins peeling an orange it freshens the air.” Ever since, Becs says she carries either things like orange-scented hand sanitizer to do the trick. “The smallest of things is sometimes my favorite solve to feel more energized!”
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