How to be active at a desk job.

It is so hard to be active at a desk job.  Sedentary lifestyles come with a plethora of health risks, but so many of us work in offices that don’t offer the opportunity for activity throughout the day.

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About 80% of Americans have a job that is classified as sedentary or lightly active.  I have always worked in an office and had a desk job but I did not realize how limiting and restricting it can be!

It is so hard to be active at a desk job!

Physical inactivity increases the risk of certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and even depression and anxiety.  I did not realize that by sitting at my desk for 8+ hours a day, I was actually taking away from my health.  

It makes sense, our bodies were made to move.  Even just a hundred years ago, humans were far more active than we are today.  Think about walking places instead of driving, farming our own food instead of hitting the drive through, and many more laborious tasks that we have automated or eliminated.

Your back and hips also take a toll whilst sitting in your chair all day.  Even just making sure to stand once every 20 minutes will help relieve the pressure.

 So here are just a few small, easy ways to add mobility, and movement to your day at the office and be active at a desk job:

1. Take the stairs

This is the one you hear the most, and for good reason. Even just one flight of stairs gets your heart pumping and your muscles moving.  

It may not be a high calorie burn, but it all adds up at the end of the day.  Any time you can add a few steps in, take them!

I like to use a trick i got from Cameron Diaz’s “The Body Book,” where she describes activating her quads and glutes on each step. Really press down into each stair and activate your leg muscles, getting a little extra burn on each step!

be active at a desk job

2. Make your own copies and grab your own prints

I try to be as efficient as possible at work, but this is my one inefficient task. Instead of printing a few things and grabbing them all at once. I get up from my desk and walk to the printer every time I print something. It may only be 10-20 steps but if I print 5 times, I just added another 100 steps to my day!

be active at a desk job

3. Body weight exercises.

Each week I choose a body weight exercise or two and do 10 reps every time I go to the bathroom. For example, this week I chose to do squats. Each trip to the bathroom I use the restroom, wash my hands, and do 10 squats before going back to the office.

Other weeks I will take a lap around the office after hitting the restroom, or do ten tricep push-ups on the bathroom counter. Make sure to choose an exercise that accommodates your space and clothing (squats in heels are a bad idea, trust me on this).

4. 5 minute walk

Utilize breaks to take a 5 minute brisk walk. I like to enjoy a fast-paced 5 minute walk mid-morning and then again in the mid-afternoon. Not only does it get me moving, but it helps me keep my mind clear and fresh while I’m working, which tends to reduce my stress levels.

5. Walk don’t call

Whenever I can, I walk to my coworker’s office when I need to speak with them. Not only do I communicate more effectively face to face, but I get to add a few more steps to my daily count!

6. Do lunges while your coffee brews

Odds are you have a few minutes each morning while waiting for your coffee to brew, your toast to toast, or while you check your voicemails to get a little active. I like to do a few reps of an easy body weight exercise during this chunk of free time.

7. Wear ankle weights at work

I like to wear ankle weights to work one day a week.  Thankfully, I have a fairly casual work environment so on the days when I dress down, I like to throw on my ankle weights for the day. You will definitely feel the burn towards the end of the day!  I have been using the ones shown here to the right.  They are super comfortable and adjustable, I highly recommend!

8. Wall sits while you wait on hold

Most office jobs have a bit of downtime through out the day. I like to utilize that time, like waiting on hold, to get a little active. Something as simple as just doing a wall site while on hold for a few minutes will really get your heart pumping and burn a few more calories for the day!