The majority of jobs that we hold have us sitting at our desks from 8am to 5pm, five days a week. That’s 40 hours of sitting, typing, and talking. Sure, we walk to the bathroom, we walk to get coffee, but when I tracked my steps for an average day in the office, I was at around 3,000. For comparison, it is recommended that we walk 10,000 steps a day.
Many of us have difficult schedules and conflicts that don’t allow us to workout at the crack of dawn, or maybe we have to pick up the kids from school after work, so that is shot, too. Even though your schedule may not allow for you to carve out 45 minutes a day to work out, here are a few tips for staying “active” while sitting at your desk.
- Take a lap!
So it only takes you 15 steps to get coffee or go to the bathroom? Instead of taking the closest route, take the long way! For example, walk a lap around your entire office, get coffee/go to the bathroom, and then take another lap. This activity will easily add at least 100-200 more steps to you daily routine.
- Invest in a stability ball
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A pregnant co-worker of mine was the first in my office to bring in a yoga ball to sit on to help with her symptoms. While this does help ease those side effects, it’s also very effective if you’re not pregnant! In a study done by the State University of New York Buffalo, people who sat on a stability ball burned 4.1 times more calories than those that sat on a chair. This may not sound like much to you, but it adds up to more than 160 additional calories burned each week and 640 additional calories burned each month. Buying a stability ball doesn’t have to break the bank! Target, Five Below, and Wal-Mart carry quality stability balls that will meet your budget.
- Utilize your lunch break
This may not be an option for everyone, every day of the week, but if you do have 45 minutes to an hour to step away from your desk, why not use that time to burn off that morning donut your co-worker brought in? Instead of going out to lunch or spending noon to 1pm eating at your desk, head to the gym when time allows and eat at your desk afterwards. Your workout doesn’t have to take up the entire hour if you spend your time wisely, plus, it gives you an extra boost of energy for the rest of your day!
- Take the stairs
Because most office buildings have elevators, it’s a constant temptation to just hop on and press go when you have a million and one things in your hand. Try to make it a habit to take the stairs, always. If you park in a parking garage, park on a higher floor and take the stairs down. If your desk is on a higher level, take the stairs (if you happen to be on floor 50 for some crazy reason, walk at least 5 flights, then take the elevator). One flight of stairs, three times a day is equal to burning 15 calories. That may seem small in hindsight, but that’s 75 additional calories burned a week or 300 a month. Work towards making this a habit and it will be easier every time!
- Enjoy a walking meeting
If possible, instead of sitting in a conference room for your discussion, take a few laps around the office or go outside. Walking around the office gets the blood flowing, sparks creativity, and is a good way to communicate without technology being a constant distraction.
- Drink more water
This tip is simple and FREE! Everyone should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, which equals 64 oz. I recommend getting your own glass bottle for your desk and keep it full as much as possible. Whenever you go to the bathroom or fill up your coffee, fill up your water bottle as well. Continually drinking water throughout the day will keep you full, make your skin glow, flush out waste and bacteria, and keep your body at a normal temperature. Swap that Diet Coke for a water and reap the benefits of that H2O.