If you’re reading this article while you’re taking a quick work break at the office, odds are that you’re doing it sitting down. Or maybe you’re doing a 5-minute internet browsing session before you even open that dreaded spreadsheet document, and this initial sit-down kicks off three hours straight of sitting at your desk. Unfortunately, there’s some bad news bears for you: Sitting is not a healthy thing to do, especially not for an 8-hour work day.
Study after study has shown that sitting has a negative impact on your health. Not only does sitting increase your risk for diabetes and obesity, but it also makes you more likely to die of a heart attack. On a more positive note, so you’re not crying in your coffee, walking can help reduce cancer risk, among a whole host of other benefits.
Experts say that not only is it important that you still get your workouts in, but you should also do your best to avoid sitting for long periods of time, which is no easy task when you have a desk job. So are you doomed to death or disease if you’re chained to a desk for your day job? Not so fast! There are numerous ways to fit more standing and walking into your day even if you have to sit to make a living. Yep, you really can bust out of that desk chair and get moving at work! Click on for 18 awesome ways to get active while you’re at the office.
Make Your Commute Work For You 1 of 18
It's hard to exercise when you have to drive an hour in the car, but if you can bike to work, try to do it now and again. Take the bus or train when you can, and walk to the stops. Making your commute an active one starts your work day out on the right foot!
Photo credit: uberculture, Flickr
Take The Stairs 2 of 18
Have to head to another floor to see the big boss? Take the stairs whenever you can. If it's impossible to take the stairs the entire way, like if you're on the 50th floor, get off the elevator a little early to walk the rest of the way.
Photo credit: petercastleton, Flickr
Play A Game 3 of 18
Have another co-worker who wants to walk more too? Play a scavenger hunt each day. Take turns hiding a small object — a sticky note, a golf ball, or a funny key chain — around the office. Come up with your own set of rules, like not making it too difficult to find, giving and receiving clues after a certain amount of time, and the CEO's office is off limits, but use it to encourage each other to walk more.
Photo credit: bradleypjohnson, Flickr
Fill Up Your Water Cup Often 4 of 18
Ditch the bottled water and drink out of a small cup so that you're forced to get up often to head to the water cooler to refill your drink. Bonus points if you can get in your eight cups of water every day — that means eight trips to the water fountain!
Photo credit: Ted & Dani, Flickr
Hit The Restroom 5 of 18
The more you fill up that cup of water? Well, the more you have to use the restroom. It's science. Head to the bathroom frequently. Don't be afraid to go to one on another floor or one that's less convenient for you to get more walking in. While you're in there? You can always do some stretching and a couple of wall sits, counter push-ups, or squats in a stall.
Photo credit: Sam Howzit, Flickr
Don’t Hit Reply 6 of 18
Make a point to walk down the hall to deliver a message rather than IM or email a co-worker. Not only is real face-to-face contact nice once in awhile, but you'll get a quick walk, give your bum a break, and prevent one more email from clogging an inbox.
Photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography, Flickr
Hit The Office Gym 7 of 18
If you're lucky enough to have a workout facility at the office, make it a goal to go there every day. You don't have to spend a lot of time, but every bit counts. If your office doesn't have one, talk to HR to see what it would take to get a small workout room set up. It would be a great boost to morale and metabolism!
Photo credit: Tobyotter, Flickr
Take An Hourly Walk Break 8 of 18
Make a point every hour to get up and take a quick walking break. You could walk around the cubicle block or the city block, depending on the demands of the day and how much time you have.
Photo credit: stockicide, Flickr
Take Meetings To Go 9 of 18
Meeting with co-workers to brainstorm marketing strategies? Take a walk to do it. If it's not feasible to talk and walk, head to a nearby park or green space together.
Photo credit: EaglebrookSchool, Flickr
Walk To Lunch 10 of 18
Going out to lunch? Don't hop in the car to go down the block, just walk! Snowing? Don a coat. Raining? That's what umbrellas are for!
Photo credit: paranoidnotandroid, Flickr
Power Lunch 11 of 18
Eat a quick bite at your desk and then hit the pavement for a power walk over lunch. Or better yet, grab your lunch and power walk to a nearby park. Grab a co-worker for company or hit the road solo, but use it as an opportunity to get moving.
Photo credit: notfrancois, Flickr
Pick Up The Pace 12 of 18
If you're on a conference call, it's easy to stand up and stretch or do some easy movements, especially if you're in an office. Pace back and forth, throw in some lunges if you've got the room. Even if you're in an open-concept office or cubicle farm, you won't be thought strange if you stand up during conference calls or pace around. A long hallway is also friendly for pacing if you've got a cell phone.
Photo credit: brownpau, Flickr
Walk To Refresh 13 of 18
Gray walls have you uninspired? Need a mental break? Sometimes you just get stuck in a problem-solving rut. At those times, don't just sit and surf the internet — get moving. A quick walk and change of scenery may be just what you need to clear the mental fog.
Photo credit: LeeBrimelow, Flickr
Take Advantage Of The Office Door 14 of 18
If you've got an office, you're well on your way to sneaking in more fitness. You can easily pump out 10 push-ups or do a few burpees without anyone being the wiser.
Photo credit: lucyrfisher, Flickr
Ball Sit 15 of 18
Trade your desk chair for a stability ball. Sitting on the unstable surface will make you activate your core muscles and will make you conscious of your posture all day long.
Photo credit: ryaninc, Flickr
Walking Desk 16 of 18
Have you seen these walking desks? While they may not be practical for many of us to own, you could see if your employer could set up a work station for employees to share. It'd be a great place to check email and do a lot of mindless tasks that eat up your time — all while you walk.
Photo credit: FitBottomedGirls.com
Resistance Bands 17 of 18
It's hard to have a lot of workout equipment at the office for those spare moments of free time, but resistance bands are super easy to stash and also really easy to grab and use while you're working. They can help you stretch and strengthen while reading reports.
Add In Strength 18 of 18
If your profession already has you on your feet for hours on end, you may have the opposite problem and actually need a rest! But you can also add in strength exercises to tone your muscles. A quick round of squats or the use of a resistance band can round out your busy day.
Photo credit: midiman, Flickr