You can build physical activity into your workday to be less sedentary and get more exercise. Walking, alternating sitting with standing, taking active breaks from the computer, and sneaking in mini workouts at your desk are just a few of the ways you can move more, get fit and burn calories on the job.
If you’re like most American adults, you spend most of your waking hours at work and struggle to fit everything else (like exercise) into your “free time.” And who are we kidding, sometimes by the end of the workday there’s little time or energy left for getting active.
What if you could work out while you work, without having to carve out a big chunk of time? You can – by taking all those little opportunities to move more throughout your day. Just because you have a desk doesn’t mean you have to sit at it for eight hours straight.
Try Some of These Ways to Move More
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can, for at least a floor or two. Once that gets easier, add another floor.
- Instead of using the breakroom or restroom nearest your workstation, use one farther away, maybe even on another floor – and take the stairs each time you go.
- If you sit at a desk, make it a habit to stand up every time you make or answer a phone call. March in place or pace in a circle to keep moving.
- Stuck on a long call or need an energizing break? Stand up and do some basic strength and balance exercises, like squats, desk push-ups, wall sits, calf raises, tree pose and chair pose.
- Keep small hand weights or a resistance band at your desk for bicep curls, lateral raises, rows, and overhead presses. Watch demos online or work with a fitness trainer to make sure you’re doing exercises correctly to avoid injury.
- Walk to a coworker’s desk or office to talk instead of using email, IM or the phone. The personal interaction is an added bonus!
- Traveling for work? Take along a jump rope or resistance band to use in your hotel room. Bring workout clothes, shoes and a swimsuit to take advantage of the hotel fitness center or swimming pool.
- Join or start a recreational sports league at your workplace.
- Form a walking club or team to walk together at work and raise money for charity events like a heart walk in your area.
- Schedule walking meetings for informal discussions and brainstorming. Use a voice memo app on your phone to capture notes. You may find you’re more creative on your feet!
- Get off the bus or train a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way to work or home. If you drive to work, park as far away from the entrance as you can.
- Walk to a nearby restaurant for lunch instead of driving or ordering in.
- Explore your options for using a standing desk, treadmill desk or sit-stand desk riser. Alternate sitting and standing throughout the day, with lots of walking and stretching breaks.
Tips for Success
You may be saying, uh-uh, that would never work at my office! But you may be surprised. Here are some tips to make it a little easier to transition to standing and moving more at work.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing you can move in easily or keep a pair of sneaks at your desk.
- Use a cushioned floor mat and other support to avoid foot and leg fatigue when standing.
- Ask a coworker to be your “work out at work” partner. Remind and support each other to move more throughout the day. You’ll help keep each other accountable and motivated!
- Schedule physical activity time on your work calendar — and treat it like an important appointment.
Is your workplace interested in getting employees more active? A worksite physical activity program and a culture of activity can increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, lower turnover and reduce healthcare costs.
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