5 Ways To Move More at Work

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Food News, June 24, 2011
Make Time to Stretch at the Office
Take a break to stretch and walk around once an hour while at work.

It’s not news that we’re having an obesity epidemic. Contributing factors include extra-large portions, too many processed foods and…our jobs? New research published in the journal PLOS One (Public Library of Science) shows that a drop in physical activity in the workplace also plays a role in our growing waistlines. Research also indicates that desk potatoes are 54 percent more likely to die of a heart attack! Here are 5 ways to make sure you move throughout your work day.

#1: Take Breaks Often
Take one 10 to 15 minute break every hour to walk around, stretch or grab some water. Find a quiet corner to do some jumping jacks, lunges, yoga moves or whatever you enjoy—don’t be shy!

#2: Office Stretch Time
When Dana and I worked at a desk job for an online company, the CEO was very excited when we suggested a 15- to 20-minute stretching and yoga session three days a week. He bought yoga mats for the office and Dana (also a certified athletic trainer) led everyone in some relaxing moves.

#3: Face to Face Communication
These days office communication consists of emails, texts and instant messages. While these are all effective ways to communicate, they won’t get you moving. If you find yourself having a lengthy IM session, stand up and have a conversation with the person instead. Along the same lines, if you find yourself writing paragraphs-long emails, call the person and stand up during the conversation.

#4: Lunch Time Walk
Instead of taking a break to sit and talk with co-workers at lunch, take 20 minutes to walk around the neighborhood. You can always talk and walk with your work friends.

#5: Stand-Up Desk
My father just installed one in his office, and some offices around the country are purchasing stand up workstations for their employees. I’ve even heard of some offices purchasing very slow moving treadmills for the desk, where you walk and work at the same time.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

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How do you stay active at work? Tell us in the comments below.

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Comments (10)

  1. satish says:

    Thanks for the good tips. It is difficult to get a lot of exercise if you spend most of your day at a desk job. I have also found that taking stairs in your office also is a good work-out especially if you are above several floors.
    Not every office is open to ideas. If you are taking a break or wandering around, they might think you are slacking off. But it is good news that more employers are offering options these days.

  2. Dan says:

    standing and treadmill desks?? Thats awesome….simple ideas. I need to start thinking outside the box like this.

  3. jgmurphy says:

    I have developed some exercises to do at work. I hate sitting still all day and I believe it contributes to obesity.

    1. Every 5 to 10 minutes or so, i will get up and go check the fax machine, then circulate through the office and distribute the faxes. My co-workers may think I am trying to be helpful, but I will confess that my real goal is to stay in shape. Also my chiropractor recommended it. he said sitting all day for long stretches is horrible for your back.

    2. While I am at the copier or the microwave, I do leg lifts. That is just lifting each leg 5-10 times, raising and lowering while holding a couple of seconds in between.

    3. For your abs, sit on your desk chair sideways. Grab the side of the chair or the desk for balance, then slowly lower your upper body toward the floor and pull yourself up slowly. Do this 5-6 times.

    4. For the thighs, get up from your desk, sit back halfway down, then stand back up. Do this 15-20 times.

    5. Another variation is to stand up straight, then bend your knees into a sitting position (kind of like you were sitting on an invisible chair). Hold this as long as possible.

    I have been doing these things so long it doesn't even feel like work or exercise anymore, just second nature.

  4. I found that by doing isometrics you can really get in shape at work! Just find a place where you can tighten your muscles for a minute and than release and repeat.

  5. Katie says:

    This is great, I get so frustrated when I'm stuck at my computer for the entire day! I used to work just a half mile from a grocery store, so I would walk to pick something up during my lunch hour. Everyone thought I was crazy for not driving, but it really helped me get through the day if I could just get away from my desk for a while!

  6. Katie says:

    I also got caught trying to do a one-legged squat wile waiting for something to print, though. That was an awkward moment!

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