Staying active at work sounds like an oxymoron. Do you suffer from the sitting disease?
Take a moment to consider how many hours a day you spend sitting. The commute to work, the 8+ hour desk job, the commute home, the time spent on the couch for some well-deserved relaxation time after a long day. Most people find that they spend more time sitting than they do standing or moving throughout their day.
The amount of time you spend sitting can be putting you at risk. Physical inactivity increases your risk of developing health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. For those with a desk-dwelling job, it may seem impossible to stay active during your 8+-hour workday but small steps in fighting against inactivity can lead to big steps for improving your health.
Here are 8 ways to sneak in physical activity during your primarily inactive workday.
1. Take the Extra Step
For many people walking or riding a bike to work isn’t feasible. If you can’t avoid driving to work try parking at a distant parking spot. There are a couple upsides to this; you won’t be fighting other drivers for a close parking spot and you will be able to get a few minutes of extra walking in before and after work.
2. Stair Trade
Trade the long wait for the elevator and the stuffy ride up to your floor for a nice leisurely stroll up the stairs to your office. Do you work on a top floor? Take the elevator halfway up and then take the stairs the rest of the way!
3. Walk the Talk
Business meetings are inevitable. Sure some meetings must be done at a desk or behind a computer but not all of them do. Turn your meeting mobile! A walking meeting is a great way for you and your coworkers to get moving plus physical activity also helps activate the brain. Hello active and productive meeting! If you have a quick question for a coworker in the office go old school and walk over to their desk and ask them instead of sending an email, you’d be surprised how quickly those steps add up.
4. Take a Stand
When you get sucked into work it’s easy to lose track of time. Set hourly alarms on your phone to remind you to get up and move. A simple walking lap around the office is better than gluing yourself to your office chair.
5. Re-think Your Lunch Break
Lunch breaks are important. They give you time to refuel your body, recharge your brain and it also gives you a good opportunity to get active. If you have a corporate gym or a gym near by take half of your lunch break to get a quick sweat in. If you don’t have enough time for a good sweat sesh trade the time you use scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook feeds in for physical activity. Better yet, walk and scroll! Again, small steps add up quickly.
6. 7th Inning Stretch
Computer posture can get the best of us. At first we are conscious of our posture but by the end of the day we are tired, not paying a close attention and our posture suffers the consequences. This can lead to back pain throughout the day and beyond. Best way to combat that is to take the time to do a mid-day stretch. I’ve recorded 3 easy stretches that can be done anywhere.
7. Make it Challenging
Even if we deny it, we all have a little competitive edge. Gather some co-workers and start an office fitness challenge. There are plenty of ways to make activity fun. You can start with a friendly competition to see who can get the most steps in a day or make a rule that every hour you have to do 10 jumping jacks, squats or pushups. Getting others involved will help keep you motivated and everyone can hold each other accountable.
8. Don’t Wait, Move
If you’re waiting for the printer, the microwave or even an email response use that time you spend waiting to get active. Do simple exercises like calf raises, lunges or squats while you wait. Side note: if you get others involved in an office fitness challenge they won’t think it’s strange if they walk by the copy room and see you doing lunges!
Sure, your workday may be long but it doesn’t have to halt your goal of getting physically active; simple changes go a long way!