Sneak in Healthy Physical Activity During a Sedentary Work Day

Woman running at lunchtime

Most office jobs aren’t exactly good for your physical health. You find yourself sitting for at least eight hours per day and that can’t possibly be good for your joints and muscles. Still, just because you’re working doesn’t mean you can’t take a couple of minutes out of your day to improve on your physical health.

#1 Stop and stand up

Standing up might not seem like much of a physical activity, but it beats sitting down all day. Something as simple as standing up every once in a while can make all the difference when you want to stay healthy at work.

It’s estimated that you would need at least two hours of standing every workday in order to make up for the rest of the time that is spent sitting down. Obviously, alternating from one to the other isn’t a realistic way to achieve this during work hours.

Some offices have adapted by introducing sit-stand desks in order to combat the growing problem of sedentary work. By using these kinds of desks, employees are able to adjust the way they work throughout the workday. This allows them to stand when they tire of sitting and vice versa. It’s a nifty piece of furniture that can significantly improve the physical health of workers.

#2 Have an active lunch break

Breaks are a crucial part of the workday. You can’t be expected to stay productive a full eight hours per day. The mind needs a bit of rest in order to be completely effective. What better way to rest than to enjoy the great outdoors?

Woman working out in park at lunchtime

Just a short active lunch will help

Instead of eating your lunch on your desk while browsing the internet, your time would be much better spent going outside. While you’re already outside, might as well go for a brisk walk or run through the park. A bit of physical activity will get your appetite going while also giving you a slight boost of energy before you get back to work. The sun and fresh air will also serve as a wonderful contrast to being cooped up in the office.

Depending on how long your lunch break is, you can go all out and figure out an actual fitness regime for your breaks. Yoga and gym sessions are very popular picks that can really give some spice to your workday.

You could even try out a quick HIIT workout which requires almost no space and definitely no equipment, like this one:

#3 Keep fitness gadgets on hand

There are lots of little gadgets that can help you do some minor workouts on the go. Some of them allow you to continue working while you use them. You’ve probably seen those small resistance coils that people use to strengthen their wrists. It’s not a very interesting exercise, but it lets you fidget around with something while you brainstorm ideas and such.

Small weights could come in handy as well. A couple of kilograms in weight would do the trick. You could do some bicep curls and tricep extensions without breaking a sweat.

Resistance bands might seem silly when you look at them from afar, but they are very effective at working out your muscles. They help them reach their maximum potential without overworking them.

#4 Organize meetings on the go

Meetings are usually either extremely dull affairs or very exciting moments that determine whether or not you’ll have a new client or project to deal with. It really depends on the person that is holding the meeting. When you’re the one calling for talks, it would be very practical if you could turn the conversation into an opportunity to stretch your legs.

Man and woman walking for a meeting

Meeting for a lunchtime meeting

When you’re discussing things with a client, try to figure out how they would react to a meeting on the go. A simple walk outside while chatting and absorbing the fresh air would really put them in a positive mood. Not only that, but it would give you a great creative atmosphere that could help you in winning new business.

Keep in mind this only works if the client actually enjoys these types of walks! Otherwise, you’re simply going to annoy them and they might not want to talk to you again. Evaluate the situation and figure out whether the idea is worth mentioning at all.

#5 Stretch every now and then

One of the worst things about sitting all day is that joints and tendons become severely underutilized. It’s easy for your back and knees to get stiff when you aren’t moving them around for hours.

The best way to solve this would be to do some stretching. Every hour or two, you should get up and cover some of your basic muscle groups. Pay attention to your back, legs, shoulders and neck. A quick stretch won’t just make you feel a lot better; it will also improve your posture. After all, you don’t even notice the pain that is accumulating throughout the workday.

Woman stretching at work desk

You can do basic stretches at your desk, no excuses!

The whole stretching exercise shouldn’t last you a full five minutes, even if you do them all several times. This makes stretching an ideal way to get your body working when it feels cramped. Not only does stretching help your joints, but it also relaxes many of your muscles.

You might be surprised when your back pain suddenly stops after a few stretching exercises and your improved blood flow will help you feel more energised.

#6 Take any chance to walk around

When you’re talking to clients on the phone, there’s no reason for you to be sitting down. Unless you’re strictly talking through a landline, you can pick up the phone and walk around the office while you talk. It breaks the monotony of sitting down and you can avoid distracting your coworkers with any loud talking.

When you go to make your mid-day cup of coffee, take the long route and enjoy the brisk walk you get out of it. If you want a glass of water to go with it, pick it up later. The more you walk the more comfortable you’ll feel at your desk later. It’s not much, but it can have a positive effect.

#7 Make it part of your commute

Since it’s not very easy to incorporate a fitness regime into your busy workday, why not look outside of the actual work hours? The time you spend commuting could be very useful in helping you stay physically active. Obviously, you can’t work out in your own car, when both your hands are constantly on the steering wheel. On the other hand, nobody says that you have to use a car to get to work.

Not everyone lives within walking distance of their workplace, which is why they opt to drive there instead. It helps save time and get them back home after a long day at work. However, it’s not always the fastest possible way to get home. Traffic jams aren’t an uncommon occurrence and you probably wish you could just buzz by the other cars and get to work even faster.

This is exactly why bicycle commutes are becoming increasingly popular. People use them to get their daily dose of exercise while heading off to work. Obviously, some commutes are a bit too long to be carried by leg strength alone, which is why practical electric bikes are used instead. Not only do you get a solid workout out of the trip, but you also get a really nice pick-me-up in the morning and after work.

#8 Change the seating

Sitting around all day is a big part of the problem that surrounds sedentary work environments. However, it’s par for the course for most office jobs. If your line of work requires you to work on a computer, you can expect to be sitting for a great majority of your work day. If you’re lucky, you might have a trip or two to the printer or water cooler to keep your legs busy.

If you spend much of your workday seated, the quality of your desk chair is going to affect your neck and back health significantly. Wouldn’t it be great if the chair itself could provide a bit of a workout, even when you’re not technically moving much?

Sitting on an exercise ball at work

Executive exercising on fitness ball in office

It’s a sight for sore eyes, but you might have noticed a certain workout accessory in more health-oriented offices. Instead of having a desk chair, some offices offer you the opportunity to sit on a stability ball. You rarely see these things outside of a gym environment, but they are becoming increasingly popular in offices.

The way they work is pretty interesting. You don’t feel like you’re actually partaking in any kind of exercise, but you’re doing a lot more than you might think.


The office might not seem like the most fitness-oriented place in the world, but that’s only because people don’t take advantage of any opportunities to turn it into one. You shouldn’t expect to get buff and ripped during work hours, but even just one of these activities can positively impact your health in the long run.