Pain Free Working

7 Tips for Staying Active at Work

If staying active at work to offset your desk job and sedentary work hours is your goal, then you’re on the right track.

Prolonged periods of sitting can not only harm your physical health but also impact your mental performance and overall well-being. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy tips and tricks that you can incorporate into your daily routine to combat the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle. 

We’ll walk you through some creative strategies to keep your body and mind in top shape while at work.

What Is the Best Way for Staying Active at Work?

In the quest for a healthier and more productive workday, finding the best way to stay active at work is a must. Here are some tips on how to spend your working hours in a more active and fulfilling manner.

Incorporate Physical Activity

Tips for Staying Active at Work - Physical Actvity

Desk jobs often mean long hours of sitting, so it’s best to find ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. While you sit at your desk, spend a quick desk exercise routine to invigorate your muscles and maintain your energy levels throughout the day, including leg lifts, chair squats, or neck stretches to alleviate neck pain.

Take some time to stand when you can and do calf raises while on phone calls or waiting for your coffee run to strengthen your leg muscles at the same time. 

Here’s a quick tip: Set reminders to stretch and stand up regularly. Your body will thank you for these few moments of movement.

Set Walking Meetings

Tips for Staying Active at Work - Walking Meetings

Swap out the traditional conference room setting for a walking meeting whenever possible. Not only will this get you and your colleagues moving, but it can also lead to increased creativity and collaboration. 

Try it and you just might be surprised at how discussing important matters while taking a brisk walk can do wonders for your team’s mental health and physical well-being.

Take Advantage of Your Lunch Break

Tips for Staying Active at Work - Lunch Break Stroll

Your lunch break isn’t just for refueling, but also an opportunity to get active. Instead of sitting at your desk after a good meal, use this time to go for a short walk to maximize those precious minutes for more movement and stay active. 

A few minutes of movement during lunch breaks can help combat the effects of sitting all morning and add up to more activity throughout your day.

Choose the Stairs

Tips for Staying Active at Work - Choose Stairs

Whenever possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator. A quick staircase workout is a fantastic cardiovascular activity that helps reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. 

It’s an easy yet underrated way to increase your daily step goal and activity level even during office hours. It’s also a natural way to revitalize your body and mind, perfect for combating that mid-afternoon slump.

Embrace the Standing Desk

Tips for Staying Active at Work - Standing Desk

If you have the option, consider investing in standing workstations like the standing desk. This ergonomic piece of furniture allows you to alternate between sitting and standing and promotes a dynamic work routine. You’re no longer confined to a static sitting posture for hours on end. Instead, you have the flexibility to sit when needed and stand when it’s time to give your body and mind a refreshing change of pace.

Standing desks also help you avoid the pitfalls of poor posture while revolutionizing the way you work.

Consider a Treadmill Desk or Exercise Ball

Tips for Staying Active at Work - Exercise Ball

For the truly committed, a treadmill desk or exercise ball are fun options worth exploring beyond a traditional office chair.

You can walk at a slow pace while working on a treadmill desk, allowing you to be productive while keeping your heart rate up and your blood pumping.

An exercise ball, often referred to as a stability ball or yoga ball, on the other hand, is an excellent choice for those looking for ways to stay active even while they sit at their desks. Sitting on an exercise ball requires balance, which activates your core muscles and prevents the slouching and hunched position often associated with traditional chairs.

Try Active Commuting

Tips for Staying Active at Work - Active commute

If your commute involves public transport, consider getting off a stop or two early and walking the rest of the way to work to set the tone for a physically active lifestyle at work. 

Alternatively, if you live close enough, biking or walking to work can be an excellent way to kickstart your day with some exercise and fresh air. Cycling releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones, which can enhance your mood and reduce stress, setting a positive tone for your workday. 

Why Is It Important to Be Active at Work?

We all know that the daily grind at our desks can sometimes make us feel like we’re stuck in one place for several hours on end. But did you know that all-day sitting can actually put us at an increased risk of serious health issues?

When we sit for long periods, our bodies don’t get the chance to move, and that can lead to problems like neck pain, hip problems, muscle fatigue, and even cardiovascular disease. The sedentary hour at your desk might feel like the path of least resistance, but it’s not doing our overall health any favors. 

This is where incorporating regular breaks and small active movements into your work routine becomes pivotal. Taking purposeful breaks throughout the day helps reduce the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle, contributing to long-term health benefits. Plus, it offers mental refreshment and productivity boost that significantly transform your workday.

How Can People Stay Fit in 9 to 5 Desk Jobs?

A press release by the British Journal of Sports Medicine provides practical and achievable ways for office workers to stay active and healthy.

Stand Up for Health

First off, the guideline suggests that office warriors should aim to get up and stand for at least 2 hours during the workday. As sitting for too long can lead to serious health risks, it’s high time to embrace some standing aerobics.

Break the Sitting Spell

Break up those prolonged sitting sessions. You can do this by using sit-stand desks, engaging in standing-based work, and taking a light walk down the hall. Your muscles will thank you for it!

Mind Your Posture

Altering and finding that good posture while sitting can do so much to alleviate musculoskeletal pain and fatigue brought on by stress throughout the day. 

Employer’s Role

The recommendation doesn’t stop at your desk. It also suggests employers play a vital role in promoting a healthier workplace. Encouraging staff to cut down on drinking and smoking, eat a nutritious diet, and manage stress is just as crucial as standing up.

So, in a nutshell, staying fit in a 9 to 5 desk job is all about making a few simple changes to create a more active work environment.

Final Note

Not everyone gets to work in a place where physical activity is part of the job. But we can all take a stand (literally!) for our own well-being. 

And the battle against the sedentary office life is not one we have to face alone. We’ve got a treasure trove of ways to stay active, from standing desks to strolls during lunch breaks. We can choose to defy the all-day sitting trap and embrace a more active lifestyle.

So, here’s to a healthier, more energetic you at work, and in life!

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.