In today’s hustle and bustle, it’s easy to find ourselves glued to our desks for hours on end, overlooking the importance of staying active during the workday. Yet, the repercussions of prolonged sitting extend far beyond physical discomfort—they can deeply impact both our bodies and minds.

“Sitting is the new smoking” is a well-known phrase that highlights growing concerns over the negative health effects of prolonged sitting for everyone – even those who engage in regular exercise. Research shows that sitting for prolonged periods is associated with a higher risk of chronic health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and even premature death. One study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests prolonged sitting can counteract the benefits of regular exercise. The study found that prolonged sitting, defined as sitting for over 3 hours per day, was associated with an increased risk of death, regardless of physical activity level. In other words, even if someone exercises regularly, spending long periods of time sitting at a desk or in front of a screen could negate the positive effects of working out. This statistic underscores the importance of reducing sedentary behavior throughout the day, not just during structured exercise sessions.

Carving out MO’ments for MO’vement throughout the day is not just a luxury but a necessity. Reflecting on one of my power words for 2024, which is self-CARE, I say MO’vement is medicine, and it is why it is a crucial component of self-care. In as little as five minutes in the morning and afternoon, and with just five simple stretches, you can revitalize your body, enhance your posture (easing back discomfort and pain), kick-start circulation and joint flexibility, uplift your spirits, and sharpen your focus for heightened productivity. It’s time to break free from the desk-bound monotony and embrace the transformative power of MO’vement—let’s embark on this journey to a healthier, more vibrant you, right from your very own desk.

Incorporating movement breaks into your daily routine, such as standing up and stretching every hour or taking short walks, can help counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting and contribute to improved mental health and overall better health. Start with a seated stretch routine such as the one I share here and MO’ve on from there. Once you experience the benefits of stretching in your chair at your desk, you will wonder why you didn’t think about doing this before. 

I have prepared and filmed this quick 5-minute routine which you can watch and follow along here. Move your chair back from your desk, move yourself to the front edge of your seat and plant your feet on the ground just wider than hip-width, arms at your side. 

Exercise Sequence:
5 Shoulder Rolls

4 Alternating Overhead Reaches

3 Side to Side Torso Twists

2 Chest & Back Openers

1 Slow Deep Breaths (inhale through your nose, pause. Exhale through your nose or mouth, pause). Repeat 10 times. 

So, whether it’s a few quick stretches at your desk (as outlined and demonstrated here), a quick walk around the office, or even a midday workout, make it a priority to MO’ve MO’re during your workday. Your body and mind will thank you for it!Want MO’re ways to get MO’tivated to MO’ve? Check out this 28-day MO’ve with Mo Challenge for Mental Health downloadable calendar. Mental Health Week in Canada is May 6 to 12, 2024 – the theme of which is #CompassionConnects – which is another reminder about why it is so important to take CARE of ourselves and get MO’ving for mind and body.

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