10 Ways to Improve a Sedentary Work Lifestyle

You might know the importance of being physically active, but if you sit at a desk for 40+ hours a week, your weight may gradually increase over the years.

Getting into shape is challenging when you don’t have a lot of free time. But just because you have a sedentary work lifestyle doesn’t mean you can’t be physically fit. Here’s a look at ten ways to get moving and stay healthier while working.

See also: How to Lose Weight with a Sedentary Job


1. Walk, Don't Email

Between text messaging, emails and phone intercoms, you can buzz your coworker or boss in seconds and get an answer to any question or concern. But unfortunately, this convenience doesn’t do anything for physical fitness.

If your job keeps you locked to a chair, use any opportunity to rise from your desk and squeeze in some activity. Every little bit counts, so if you need to talk to your coworker and you have a little time to kill, take a walk down the hallway.

2. Ditch the Elevator

If you only need to go up a few floors, get into a habit of taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You might be a little winded the first time you go up and down, but the more you do it, the easier it’ll become and you’ll burn extra calories every day.

3. Learn a New Route

There might be a shorter route to the office kitchen, conference room or bathroom. But if you can, take the scenic route and get active. For example, my friend sits only a few feet away from the bathroom in her office. Since her office is one big circle, she recently got into the habit of going the “long way” to the bathroom. She repeats this route on the way back to her desk. Instead of a 20-second walk to the bathroom, it’s now a minute-and-a-half walk.

4. March in Place for a Couple Minutes

Get into a habit of standing every time you’re on the phone and march in place or pace the room back and forth. If your job doesn’t involve talking on the phone, try rising from your chair for two or three minutes every hour and marching in place.

Depending on the space and whether you work alone, you can also do other types of activity for a couple of minutes. I’ve heard of people doing planks, squats, stomach crunches and leg lifts in their offices.

5. Propose Walking Meetings

Ask your boss to consider walking meetings. Instead of hanging around a boring conference table on a beautiful day, everyone can head outdoors and discuss issues while walking around the block.

6. Get Exercise Equipment for Your Office

You can find exercise equipment that’s compact and easy to transport. If you have your own office, this might be the perfect addition to a corner space. Set up an exercise bike, a treadmill or get a few hand weights. Take advantage of any downtime you have during the day.

7. Use an Exercise Ball Instead of a Chair

This is an ingenious idea, and once you get into the habit of sitting on an exercise ball, you’ll be able to accomplish a lot while sitting at your desk. An exercise ball engages your abdominal muscles and greatly improves flexibility.

8. Get a Standing Workstation

A standing workstation forces you to be active during the day. This is ideal if you work from a laptop. With a chair, you can roll to the trash and everything’s within arm’s reach which doesn’t encourage activity. But if you’re standing, you have to walk to grab something off the shelf, answer the phone or open your office door.

9. Get a Moving Workstation

A moving workstation can be a treadmill or exercise bike with an attached work table. This might seem tricky to operate, but it’s much easier than you think. You don’t have to walk or pedal at a high-speed. Keeping a moderate pace lets you work while burning extra calories.

10. Lunch Time Walkathon

Get with your coworkers and have lunch walkathons. Just 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity can improve your physical health, help you drop weight and increase your energy. Walking alone isn’t fun, and it’s easier to maintain a consistent routine when you’re exercising with others.

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See also: 8 Exercises You Can Do at the Office

Just because your job involves a lot of sitting doesn’t mean you can’t fit activity into your hectic schedule. Get creative and look for any and every opportunity to get moving.

What are other ways to overcome a sedentary work lifestyle? Let us know in the comments section below!