6 Tips for Staying Active at Work

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One of the biggest obstacles to living a healthy lifestyle in the 21st century is working. Like it or not, a lot of jobs in western nations have moved away from physical activity and now promote long hours at a desk, usually in front of a computer screen. Sitting around for long hours is at best not helping our health and at worst is actually taking years off our lives. Plenty of recent research suggests that sitting for too long each day can even start to cancel out the effects of working out. Staying healthy is increasingly becoming a game of creatively integrating exercise into normal activities. Try out these 6 tips for staying active at work.

1. Plan a Walking Meeting

Who says that meetings have to take place is stuffy board rooms? Sure, sometimes you will need your computer to give a presentation to a large group; but if your meeting is with one or two other people why not take it outside. Whether you are making revisions to a document or brainstorming ideas for your next project, go for a walk to get the creative juices flowing. The change of scenery will spark your creativity and improve your mood.

2. Drink Lots of Water

The worst thing you can do for yourself is spend 4 straight hours staring at a computer screen. Use any tactic you can to break up the tedium. Drinking lots of water will not only help you stay hydrated and keep your body working efficiently, it will force you to take more bathroom breaks. If your desk is far from the bathroom, that means a little extra walking. If the bathroom is close by, at least you will be using your leg muscles to get out of your chair. Every little bit helps.


3. Set a Calendar Reminder to Take Breaks

If keeping lots of water handy isn’t your thing at least try using the technology at your fingertips to remind you to be active. Every workplace calendar program will have an easy option to help you get an hourly reminder to get up and move around. Take a lap around the office to talk to your co-workers or just to look out the window. Odds are you will actually get more work done.

4. Don’t Email People in Your Own Office

One of the easiest temptations to give into at the office is the urge to email people who are in the same building as you. The more you can resist that urge the better off you will be. Don’t let a few flights of stairs prevent you from asking for someone’s input face-to-face. Not only will you get more exercise and build better relationships, you will probably get the answers you were looking for a whole lot quicker.

5. Go Out for Lunch

One of the easiest things you can do to get more physical activity into your day is to use your lunch break as a mild workout session. Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Get some fresh air. Above all, don’t confuse this with an excuse to buy fast food every day. On the contrary, pack a lunch and walk to a nice location to eat it. Getting out the office will reboot your brain and help you get through the afternoon with more energy.

6. Get a Standing Desk

Finally, if you can, change your work environment itself. Plenty of companies are now willing to help employees improve their health because more and more of them are realizing that healthy employees get more done and cost less to provide health care too. Try out one of the many standing desk options currently on the market and watch as your co-workers follow suit.

Try out one or all of these tips and you will be well on your way to a healthier lifestyle and more productive and enjoyable time spent at the office.

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Steve Kux is a freelance writer and researcher based in Vancouver, BC. When not relaying the latest scientific research on health, fitness, and the environment Steve enjoys mountaineering, kayaking, and running. He generally tries to avoid writing in the third-person.

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