Four Practical Tips on How to be More Active in the Office

Blues Perspectives

| 3 min read

Healthy Office
Have you ever been sitting at your desk and realize you haven’t moved in hours? Unfortunately, this is a common reality for many of us that work in an office setting.
From juggling emails, tasks, meetings, and phone calls, keeping active at work can be difficult. However, sitting for an extended period is not only linked with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and an increased risk of death from heart disease and cancer, it can negatively impact your mental health, too.
Adding some simple movement to your day can combat all of this and even protect against some of the harmful effects of stress in the workplace. Get movement into your day by making a few simple changes. Here are four practical tips to increase productivity and happiness at work through activity in the office:
Stand more: Studies show that office workers should stand up for at least 2 hours during their work day, eventually reaching 4 hours, to break up prolonged sitting. This is because standing burned 0.15 calories per minute more than sitting. Here are some easy options to add standing into your everyday schedule.
  • Use standing desks or standing workstations to break up sitting-based work.
  • Alter your posture frequently to prevent potential pain and fatigue.
  • Stand while talking on the phone.
Re-think your workspace: Add items to your space that encourage movement or encourage your company to support activities such as stretch classes before work, yoga breaks during office hours, and lunchtime running groups. This will help look after your well-being and increase work efficiency. Here are some simple ways to re-vamp your work environment:
  • Utilize your company’s wellness incentives that are included within your benefits plan.
  • Organize a yoga class during lunch.
  • Try a treadmill or bike desk.
  • Sit on bounce balls instead of a chair.
Move around: Moving more may sound like an obvious action to take when trying to be more active, but when you’re busy, it's easy for many hours to fly by without moving. Research has found that for every extra hour of sitting over 5 hours, waist size increased by 2 centimeters and the risk of cardiovascular disease by 0.2%. Even when you're sitting down, you don't need to sit still; fidgeting in your seat could even make a difference. Try some of these options to get moving:
  • Walk to your co-workers desk to speak with them instead of sending an email.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park your car a few blocks away from your work entrance.
  • Stand up and watch a Blue Cross® Virtual Well-Being webinar offered with your benefits plan.
  • Make your next meeting a walking meeting.
Leave your desk for lunch: Skip eating lunch at your computer, take a break and do something physically active. You will go back to work feeling refreshed and able to concentrate for the rest of the day. Not to mention, workers who make time to engage in physical activity are reported to be less likely to develop mental health decline, than those who do not engage in exercise. No matter how you stay active during your work day, it is important to remember that any movement is better than no movement at all.
For more about staying healthy and happy at work, see these other blogs:
Photo credit: andresr

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