22 Aug 6 Ways to be more active at work
Living a sedentary lifestyle can be dangerous to your health. It increases your chances of being overweight, developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease, and experiencing depression and anxiety.
If you stand or move around during the day, you have a lower risk of early death than if you spent all your time sitting at a desk. Sadly, 43.7% of Australian adults spend most of their work day sitting.
But it’s not all doom and gloom if you happen to work in an office… There are things you can do to limit the negative impact on your health.
Here are 6 ways to be more active at work
1. Active commute
Getting stuck in traffic for hours at a time as you commute to work is never fun. But even worse is the fact that it affects your health negatively. Biking to work is the easiest way to prevent such complications while also helping you incorporate movement into your routine. Furthermore, research shows that cycling to work is also associated with a 41% decreased risk of mortality compared to commuting by car!
Too far to cycle? We get it, cycling doesn’t work for everyone, but there’s still ways you can make your commute healthier if you drive or take public transport.
If you drive: Be honest… How much time do you spend circling a parking lot so you can find a spot that’s as close to the office entrance as possible? Instead of wasting so much time, you should just park further away and walk the rest of the way.
You can leave your home earlier than usual to ensure you have enough time to walk and get to work in time.
If you use public transport: Hop off at a stop or two before your final destination so you can add in some extra steps on your way to and from the office.
2. Get outside for lunch
For many in the corporate world, lunch breaks have become shorter (or, let’s be honest, completely non-existent). How many times have you sat at your desk mindlessly shoving food in your mouth while feverishly replying to emails?
Newsflash: this is the wrong way to spend your lunch hour! Instead, try to make a routine of getting outside in your lunch break. You don’t have to buy your lunch out of the office, but it’s important thing to take an actual break from your work and have your lunch at a different location. Go for a walk around the block before eating or have a picnic lunch at the nearest park. This allows you to add extra steps to your daily routine (and get some much-needed fresh air!).
3. Take the Stairs
Simple as it is, stair climbing has a profound effect on your health. Research has shown that stair climbing reduces risk of death from all causes.
Obviously, it goes without saying that you should start slow. If you normally take the elevator to the 22nd floor, don’t try to climb all those stairs on day one! Try a few floors and use the elevator for the remaining part, then gradually build from there.
4. Volunteer for the Coffee Run
Instead of having Susan bring you your double-shot-extra-hot-soy-flat-white, why not volunteer to do the office coffee run? You’ll add some extra movement into your day and get some office brownie points on the side.
5. Walking meetings
Sick of sitting through yet another meeting in an uncomfortable chair in the boardroom? Try switching sitting meetings for standing or walking meetings! You’ll break up the inevitably long periods of sitting throughout your work day and increase blood flow to your brain. Walking has also been shown to have a positive impact on creative thinking, meaning you might even get more out of your meeting!
6. Just get up, regularly!
It’s the little things that count, so get creative and look for opportunities to get up from your desk and move regularly. Here are a few ideas that are easy to implement:
- Choose to print to a printer further away from your desk
- Go and talk to your colleague instead of sending an email
- Set an hourly reminder to get up and stretch
- Get a standing desk
Be active outside of work
It’s great to be active at work, but it’s still important to make time for movement outside of work. If you need help building a structured exercise program, talk to an expert. Getting proper advice before getting started reduces your risk of injury and will help you to reach your goals faster.