Be More Active During Your 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 to get active.

What if you could work out while you work, without having to carve out a big chunk of time? You can by taking 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.

Ways to move more through the workday

  • When you take a break, move to a different room or floor, 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. Stand up and walk around at least once an hour.
  • Stuck on a long call or need an energizing break? Try AHA’s Strength and Balance Exercises. You can also try AHA’s 10-minute Workout Anywhere or Choose Your Own Workout.
  • 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 
    • Go for a walk at exactly the same time as your friends, but on your own. This could be motivating if you have friends who don’t live close to you.
    • Create an online chat where you can post photos and chat with your walking group.
    • Talk to your friends while you walk – via phone or video chat.
  • 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 sneakers 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 “workout- 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 health care costs. Find out more information about the American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Solutions.