Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Take a Walk

As I mentioned in the 100th post, I want to see Is Yoga Legal taking on some new tasks, and one of those is practical advice for the modern world. I love to write about the interaction of yoga and the law, but I also think that people want some practical tips. Many professionals, especially lawyers, spend inordinate amounts of time sitting at a desk. This fact results in all sorts of physical and emotional problems. Therefore, I am starting a new series called At the Desk, and this is the first post in that series. All posts in the series will be labeled At the Desk. I would love to hear your feedback on this series or any others you would like to see.

A book could be written on all the problems associated with sitting at a desk all day, but those can be the focus of later posts. With this first post in the series, lets discuss the best way to counteract any problem associated with desk-life.


Sitting is static, and sitting at a desk is static in an uncomfortable and unnatural position. Thus, in order to counteract it, we need to do some natural movement. And what is more natural than walking (well, at least since about the age of 1-2)? While taking longer walks is well known to help with many medical issues, short walks are also great. They may not trim the waistline, but they can counteract the physical effects of sitting.

Taking a walk does not need to be a long exercise routine. Instead, take a 2-minute walk every hour and a slightly longer walk 1-2 times per day. How often do you feel yourself falling asleep around 3pm? Taking a ten-minute walk can help get the blood flowing again, wake you up, and prepare you for the rest of the day. Instead of considering it a waste of time, ask yourself how much time you waste by sitting at your desk feeling as though you are going to fall asleep. My productivity increased 10-fold when I just started taking short walks throughout the day.

Here are some simple tips for adding walking to your day:
  • Set a timer: Have a timer go off every hour to remind you to get up and move.
  • Go to the bathroom that is farther away: Is the bathroom less than 20 steps from your office door? Go to the one down the hall. Then you have a destination, and a bit more movement.
  • Ask a colleague a question: How often do you send an email to the person just down the hall? Do you pick up the phone and call? How about picking yourself up and walking down the hall to ask the question? If it will take a few minutes to answer, you can walk together and discuss it.
  • Get a buddy: Ask someone else in your office to share the burden of remembering to take a short walk. Then, when you need your two minutes, you can count on each other to ensure it happens.

Do you have other ideas? Please share them in the comments.

Short, frequent walks are key to counteracting the static stress of sitting at a desk all day. What may seem like a waste of time at first has the potential to increase productivity and reduce pain. And with a reduction in pain, we can reduce medication, time away from work, and time complaining. Sometimes the first answer is simple – just take a walk.

Taking a Walk is part of the series At the Desk, which focuses on practical tips from the yoga world (and other interesting finds) to help those of us stuck at the desk all day long. If you are interested in other tips, click the label “At the Desk,” and if you have any specific questions you would like to see discussed, send them my way. 

© 2011 Rebecca Stahl, all rights reserved


  1. I just found your blog through Michelle Pfennighaus's -- this is great! Looking forward to more At the Desk posts.

  2. Thanks, Esther. I appreciate the feedback.

  3. Very true... if I don't go for a walk @ lunch, I feel awful and am pretty unproductive for most of the afternoon.

    Plus the day just seems to fly by - which is an added bonus! ;-)

  4. Good point, Michael. The day goes by quicker with a nice walk. Thanks for that reminder!