Our series on time management for small businesses is almost finished, so let’s take a minute to talk about the consequences of bad time management. One of which is not being able to find time for personal health and fitness. Many small business owners would like to be more active, but after a full day at the office that often runs into the evening, it’s hard to fit in fitness. And if you weren’t already worried about this, check out this great/alarming infographic featured on Lifehack.org.

It points out that humans are now sitting for 9.3 hours a day, which is more than the 7.7 hours we spend sleeping. That’s bad, folks, because as the infographic points out, sitting increases your risk of dying by up to 40%. Not being unproductive, not getting chubby, but dying. This stat includes people who exercise outside of that time.

But, there’s good news! You started a small business so you could have more flexibility and be your own boss, right? Well, your decision might just save your life, because you have access to options that a lot of people in large corporate environments do not. Working health into your small business workday just takes a little creativity and planning. Here are a few alternatives to the seated life for you to consider:

A Stability Ball
One alternative workspace option that you’ve probably heard of is to sit on a stability ball (see also: yoga ball, exercise ball). According to Livestrong.com, some benefits of trading out your traditional desk chair include engaging and strengthening your core muscles, improving your posture, and reducing lower back pain. It can also keep you more alert, since if you lose focus, you might roll over. One possible drawback, according to UCLA Comprehensive Spine Center, is that the lack of armrests may lead to strain on the neck and encourage slouching. To find a ball that is the right size for you, make sure that you can reach your keyboard comfortably without shrugging your shoulders, while still keeping your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent.

A Standing Desk
Another way to change your workspace for the fitter is to switch to a standing desk. You’d be standing in good company since, according to Mashable, other standers include Donald Rumsfeld, writer Phillip Roth, and purportedly Earnest Hemingway. The benefits of a standing desk are pretty easy to imagine — increased bloodflow to your brain, feeling more alert since standing requires more work than sitting, and better posture throughout the day. Full disclosure, I’ve moved my laptop to a cabinet by the window for the purposes of writing this article while standing up, and I am pretty pleased with the results. The bloodflow argument is most believable, since I am not nearly as chilly as I was in the office earlier today. Experts say the best option is an electronic retractable desk, so you can go from sitting to standing as needed. If you don’t have a $1K budget item for this, consider keeping your old desk and adding an inexpensive standing desk (or a nice cabinet of the right height, like mine.)

Walking Meetings
You may have heard a clip on the news or maybe you’ve seen a magazine headline recently about the idea of walking meetings. So far they’re mostly been associated with Silicon Valley-types and tech entrepreneurs, including Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. Why have walking meetings been slow to catch on in the larger corporate world? Former technology executive Nilofer Merchant points out in a CNN article that often people are embarrassed about being unfit and therefore don’t want to walk with colleagues. While that’s understandable, it’s kind of case-in-point. Lucky for you, small business owner, you are likely not having large group meetings with audio visual equipment. Your meetings are more likely one-on-one with clients, or maybe telephone conferences. In these cases, it is certainly feasible — and advisable — to use meeting time as a way to fit in your daily exercise.

What other suggestions do you have for building health and fitness into your workday? We’d love to hear what you’ve tried!

From The Time Management Series:

Real Time Management Strategies From Real People
Spend Less Time on Social Media: Pagemodo Posts
Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners [INFOGRAPHIC]
How To Stay Fit While You Work: Ideas For Small Business Owners
How To Stop Procrastinating: Tips For Getting Unstuck
Don’t Worry, Be Happy: It’s Good For Your Business!
Save Time on Social: Keyboard Shortcuts for Facebook, Google+ and Twitter
4 Big Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners
Improve Your Efficiency Through Total Inbox Zen

2 Responses

  1. Reply
    Apr 19, 2013 - 03:12 PM

    I got an ergoErgo a few weeks ago and I *love* it!


  2. Reply
    Erica Hartman
    Apr 30, 2013 - 05:08 AM

    We’re talking about “walking meetings,” and it’s something that Seattle venture capitalist Greg Gottesman is encouraging others to do more of .

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