How to Stay Active at Work: 7 Simple Tips

Man on laptop.

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Millions of people work desk jobs that require minimal physical effort, but these jobs keep us inactive for most of the day and often lead to sedentary lifestyles outside the workplace. However, there are many creative ways to stay active at work and maintain healthy habits.

Here are seven simple tips for exercising at your job.

1. Work Out on Your Commute

Instead of taking your car or public transportation to work, try walking, running, or cycling and turn your daily commute into a challenging workout (assuming the distance is reasonable). If you’re worried about safety hazards or looking unprofessional at work, don’t be. Wear bright and breathable clothes and bring a spare work outfit in case you get too sweaty.

The real challenge of commuting by foot or bicycle is finding the best route. It might take a few weeks to discover the fastest and safest way, but you can shorten that timeframe by exploring your community and identifying sidestreets that might save time.

2. Take Advantage of Breaks

Any break you get throughout the day is an opportunity to burn calories. If you get a 10-minute window between projects, do a quick bodyweight calisthenics workout right next to your desk. Take a walk or go for a run during your lunch break. Walk up and down the stairs between meetings. Do whatever you can to get your heart pumping.

Your co-workers might think you look silly, but they’re not putting in the extra effort to take care of their bodies. You are. Ignore their remarks and stay focused on your goals.

3. Walk When You Talk

Phone calls can take up a significant portion of our workdays. Instead of sitting at your desk, get up and walk around while you talk. Don’t confine yourself to your desk if you don’t have to. Many people subconsciously start moving around when talking on the phone anyway, so you might as well put that movement to good use.

However, walking during phone calls with your superiors is probably a bad idea. It might make you sound unprofessional and put your job security at risk. Reserve your walks for phone calls with peers and subordinates.

4. Stretch Regularly

Stretching is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle – and thankfully, you can do it just about anywhere. Create a quick, full-body stretching routine and do it multiple times a day at work. Five minutes of stretching with moderate intensity burns about 14 calories, but the main benefit is keeping your muscles loose and preventing stiffness from setting in.

This advice especially applies to jobs that involve a lot of sitting and waiting but still require you to be physically fit. Security guards, lifeguards, and others are sedentary for most of the day, but a sudden emergency can spring them into action at any moment. It’s vital that they keep themselves nimble and strong with a frequent stretching routine.

5. Upgrade Your Desk and Chair

Our bodies often don’t agree with our traditional desks and chairs. Our necks, backs, and legs experience discomfort all day, sometimes leading to chronic pains and mobility issues. If you feel uncomfortable with your current office setup, swap out your desk and chair for more ergonomic options.

Some people get standing desks so they can stay on their feet throughout the day. Others bounce on a stability ball in place of a chair. These setups help you maintain good office posture and avoid those nagging aches and pains.

6. Take the Long Way

Whenever you need to walk somewhere at work, take the long way to get the extra steps. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park far away from the building to add two walks to your routine. Take your bathroom breaks in the farthest bathroom from your desk.

Since you aren’t active for most of the day, you need to take advantage of every opportunity to get on your feet and move around.

7. Bring Workout Equipment From Home

You can’t bring dumbbells and other heavy equipment to work, but you can bring lightweight devices like resistance bands to create a more complex exercise routine at work. There are all kinds of exercise bands you can use to train your whole body. Just make sure your cubicle doesn’t turn into a personal gym.

Fitness Is a Full-Time Job

You might already have a career, but fitness is another full-time job in its own right. Treat every moment as an opportunity to get one step closer to your goals. Adjust your work schedule to support your progress, not hinder it. These seven adjustments will help you stay active at your sedentary job and enable you to achieve your full potential.

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