Pain Free Working

5 Ways to Up Your Step Count in the Office

Most of the time, working in an office means you’re sitting at your desk all day long. Because of the numerous tasks that you have to deal with, it leaves you very little time to hit your step count goal. It may seem challenging to hit a thousand or 3,000 steps a day with a desk job but that isn’t the case at all.

There are a number of things you can do to increase not only your daily step count but also your physical activity levels and your overall productivity in the workplace.

Is It Necessary to Walk 10,000 Steps Per Day?

You’ve probably heard somewhere that the ideal step count each day is 10,000 steps. This magical step number is embedded in pedometers and fitness trackers everywhere. However, did you know that walking 10,000 steps a day actually has no scientific basis behind it?

This myth started out from an ad in Japan. According to Daniel Liberman, a Harvard paleoanthropologist, the 10,000-step count was invented by the Japanese company Yamasa Tokei, which produced the first commercial pedometer. The company chose 10,000 steps because it sounded good. They’re not wrong though — it did sound good because the concept became the most popular metric for steps taken in a day.

With the 10,000-step count debunked, the question now is what exactly is the ideal step count a day? According to research, most adults are only able to walk roughly 3,000 to 4,000 steps daily. While the science-recommended step count is lower than the mythical 10,000 steps, it’s not a bad thing at all if you do manage to walk 10,000 steps a day. Walking that many steps a day means you move around more and you’re walking the right path to becoming fitter and healthier.

Increase Your Step Count in the Office

Whether you want to walk 10,000 steps or at least hit 3,000 steps a day, moving around and getting up from your desk more can help negate the side effects of being sedentary. If you work an office job and you noticed that you haven’t been getting up much, you can change that by doing the following methods.

Park As Far As Possible

Parking your car right around the entrance of your building is very convenient, but you won’t see an increase in your step count in that way. The key to having more steps in a day is to make things a little more inconvenient for yourself. Instead, park your car on the spot farthest from the door, or maybe way down the street, or maybe on the higher floor of a parking garage.

Use the Stairs

Speaking of making things inconvenient for better health, one of the best ways you can see your step count rise is to take the stairs. Sure, the elevator is there to carry you from floor to floor but it won’t get you walking much. Challenging yourself by taking the stairs helps work several muscle groups of the body and improves your cardiovascular fitness as well. You can start small by taking the elevator and getting off a few floors from your office, and then taking the stairs from there.

Exercise at Your Desk

If you’re strapped to your desk but would like to see an increase in your step count, then one of the things that you can do is exercise right there at your workstation. We’re not talking about hauling gigantic gym equipment at your desk.

A desk exercise equipment that can help with your step count is an under-desk elliptical. Most of them are portable in size and can fit under any desk, letting you exercise even if you have deadlines.

You can also invest in a sit-stand desk that allows you to switch positions throughout the day. Alternating between sitting and standing encourages you to move more. Aside from desk exercise equipment, you can also walk in place, which can help raise your step count and aid in burning calories.

Visit the Pantry

Has your mug run out of coffee? Or maybe you’ve run out of water to drink? This is the perfect opportunity to increase your steps. Getting up to refill your coffee or your water bottle means moving away from your desk and walking to the pantry, raising your step count.

You can also take this walk to the pantry as an opportunity to visit your colleague’s cubicle to converse with them in person instead of sending a message over e-mail.

Walk to Work

Depending on the distance, it might be a great idea for you to walk to work. If your office is not within walking distance and you use public transportation, you can get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way instead. Walking to work is a good way to incorporate physical activity into your routine. It can also help you raise your step count even before you get to your desk.

When you walk to work regularly, you’ll also begin to see an improvement not only in your physical health but also in your mental health as it can lower stress levels and improve your mood. This can help you become more productive and focused at work.


Having a desk job does not mean you can’t be physically active. While you may not be able to leave your desk for a long time, there are a couple of ways to increase your step count throughout the day. All of these little things can add up and help you achieve your goal of having better health and well-being.

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.