I am so sorry for the long hiatus, guys! For those of you that don’t know, I do have a regular 9-5 pm desk job, and things have been pretty busy lately. It got me thinking that the majority of you probably have desk jobs or commitments, like studying at university, etc, that keep you sitting for a large portion of your day. I thought the perfect topic to write about to break my dry spell would be to give you my best tips on staying active at a desk job!
How to Stay Active at a Desk Job
1. Make Sure to Stand Regularly Throughout The Day
A while ago, I wrote about the benefits of alternating standing with sitting during your day; sitting all day can lead to pain in your neck and back, decrease your energy levels and even increase your risk of heart disease and obesity. Luckily, alternating just two hours of sitting, for standing, can help improve your blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
If you can ask for a standing desk, or an adjustable standing desk, I highly recommend that. I have a standing desk at home (love my Rebel desk), and an adjustable standing desk at work, allowing me to alternate between standing for an hour, and sitting for an hour. If you don’t have access to these products, then make sure you stand up and walk around every hour. There are plenty of apps you can use to remind you to do this–an example is this stand up app. It’s a great way to stay active and a good habit to build.
2. Stand During Your Meetings
This might feel awkward at first but I guarantee your co-workers will get used to it quickly. And you don’t have to stand at every meeting; at first, stand during your more casual meetings and when you’re comfortable with this practice, start standing at more of your meetings. I do this every now and again (it isn’t as necessary for me because I have an adjustable standing desk at work) but I’ve seen other co-workers do it…and I think it’s a great idea!
3. Park Your Car Far Away
Unless it’s raining, try parking your car in the furthest part of the parking lot to add in some extra steps into your day. It may seem really irritating at first (as humans, we have an innate ability not to waste our time) but it’s an easy way to add a couple hundred extra steps into your day!
4. Don’t Be Efficient
Ok, kind of playing off of the last tip here–waste your time and don’t be efficient! And no, I’m not saying to suddenly not do your work. What I’m saying is this–do you normally walk to the breakroom to grab some water and a snack? Next time, walk over to the water cooler and fill up your water bottle, then walk back to your desk. A little later, walk back to the breakroom and get your snack. Instead of being efficient and doing everything in 1 trip, split it all up so you end up taking more steps.
5. Go For a Walk During Your Lunch Break
This is a classic tip to get moving but one that can be easy to a) forget about b) take for granted how many extra steps you can get in. I recommend setting a timer or your phone, or putting a placeholder in your calendar, during lunch so that you can go for a 10-15 minute walk (or longer). Not only are you getting your steps in, but you’re getting in some extra cardio, vitamin D and fresh air. Chances are that you’ll feel revitalized and ready to power through the rest of the afternoon.
6. …Or Sign Up For a Workout Class During Your Lunch Break
If your workplace happens to be in a not-so walking friendly area, sign up for a workout class! Many workout studios have workouts you can sign up for in the middle of the day in anticipation of worker bees. Do a quick Google search and see which workout studios are in your area that you could realistically walk or drive to. You can always shower at the workout studio so you’ll be fresh, clean and energized when you go back to work.
Or, if you’re lucky, and have a work gym (like I do), go do a quick circuit workout at your work gym! Quick 30-minute workouts like BBG or FBG (click here for a discount code!) are perfect to do in small gyms with limited equipment.
7. Go and Talk to Your Co-Workers Instead of Messaging Them
This is such a simple, yet highly taken for granted fit tip. Sure, it may seem bothersome to go upstairs and chat to your co-worker, or even to walk across the floor. But think about it; is it really that far? Chances are that it’s probably not. Doing something as simple as going to talk to your co-workers, instead of messaging them, is a small lifestyle change that can lead to big results in the long-term.
8. Always Take the Stairs
Repeat after me: I promise to always take the stairs, instead of an elevator, unless I am carrying a million things or have hurt myself. Don’t think that this small change will make a big difference? Take it from an expert then–Dr. Karen Lee told NPR that taking the stairs actually burns more calories per minute than jogging does. And jogging is pretty freaking exhausting.
Think about it–have you ever used the stairmaster at a gym? Just 5-minutes of that will have you sweating buckets! And I don’t know about you, but I get winded so easily, just from a going up a couple of flights of stairs. So do yourself, and you heart, a favor. Take the stairs and be active and don’t make an excuse to get out of it 🙂
9. Tell Your Co-Workers Your Plan
Last but not least, this is a great way to keep accountable! Tell your co-workers that you are determined to stay active despite sitting all day, so that they will a) know why you’re walking around so much more and b) encourage you to get up and be active when they’ve noticed you at your desk for a prolonged period of time.
This is something talked about a lot in business and for good reason. Research has shown that sharing your goals with others not only keeps you accountable, but helps fulfill your desire to be social. It helps you form a bond with those around you and the positive reinforcement you get from your peers can help keep you motivated when you’re having blah days.
See guys? Staying active at your desk job is 100% possible and much easier than you thought. No need to suddenly bust out into squats every 30-minutes (awkward) or feeling guilty about not being active at work. You’ve got this!