How to Be More Active During the Work Day

man working from home on phone


Work Out at Work

If you’re like most American adults, you spend most of your waking hours at work and struggle to fit everything else (like exercise) into your “free time.” And who are we kidding, sometimes by the end of the work day there’s little time or energy left for getting active.

What if you could work out while you work, without having to carve out a big chunk of time? You can – by taking all those little opportunities to move more throughout your day. Just because you have a desk doesn’t mean you have to sit at it for eight hours straight.

Try Some of These Ways to Move More

  • When you take a break, move to a different area and stretch versus sitting in place 
  • If you sit at a desk, make it a habit to stand up or move every time you make or answer a phone call. March in place or pace in a circle to keep moving.
  • Stuck on a long call or need an energizing break? Stand up and do some basic strength and balance exercises, like squats, desk push-ups, wall sits, calf raises, tree pose and chair pose.
  • Keep small hand weights or a resistance band at your desk for bicep curls, lateral raises, rows, and overhead presses. Watch demos online to make sure you’re doing exercises correctly to avoid injury.
  • Form a virtual walking club at work 
  • Try walking or moving for informal discussions and brainstorming meetings. Use a voice memo app on your phone to capture notes. You may find you’re more creative on your feet!
  • Explore your options for using a standing desk, treadmill desk or sit-stand desk riser. Alternate sitting and standing throughout the day, with lots of walking and stretching breaks.

Tips for Success

You may be saying, uh uh, that would never work at my office! But you may be surprised. Here are some tips to make it a little easier to transition to standing and moving more while working.

  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing you can move in easily or keep a pair of sneaks at your desk.
  • Use a cushioned floor mat and other support to avoid foot and leg fatigue when standing.
  • Ask a coworker to be your virtual “work out at work” partner. Remind and support each other to move more throughout the day using email or calendar reminders. You’ll help keep each other accountable and motivated!
  • Schedule physical activity time on your work calendar — and treat it like an important appointment.

Is your workplace interested in getting employees more active? A worksite physical activity program and a culture of activity can increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, lower turnover and reduce healthcare costs. Find out more information about the American Heart Association’s Well-being Works Better™ initiatives.