Do you ever feel like the demands of life force you to be sedentary? You drive to the office (sitting in your car) to work at your desk (sitting for hours on end) to drive home (more sitting in the car) to eat dinner (more sitting), tie up loose ends (often involving even more time in front of a computer), and finally crash for the day (on the couch) feeling both mentally and physically exhausted.
And why do we feel so tired after sitting so much of the day? Some of my most exhausting days have involved sitting around and waiting. It’s draining! I understand how impossible it can feel to change this, not to mention impractical. If you work at a desk, how can you move away from your computer and still get things done?
I’ve spent a good amount of time sitting in a cubicle in an office building and I understand the struggle. Even more, I know how ridiculous some of the “workplace workouts” are. Maybe if you’re bold and truly don’t care about what the people around you think you can bust out squats and pushups and tricep dips using your office chair. But that was never me. I had the desire, even the need, to move more but would not risk looking like a fool or being stared at. I’m sure many of you can relate.
So, if like me, you’re stuck in a place that seems to discourage movement. How do you add more activity into your day? Here are five ways to move more while maintaining your composure at work.
5 Opportunities to Move More at Work
- Walk to the farthest bathroom. Most office building have multiple restrooms. So when you gotta go, don’t use the one that’s right next to your desk. Use the one that’s on the other side of the building, on a different floor, or at least down the hall. If you’re taking in enough water during the day (at least 64 oz), then you are sure to be up and walking to the bathroom a couple times every morning and afternoon.
- Take the long way to the printer. When you need to retrieve a paper from the office printer, take a lap around the floor first. It’s an easy way to add in a few more steps and no one will notice if you walk in the opposite direction of the printer first.
- Take the long way to the break room. Everybody loves a coffee break or meeting up at the water cooler. Once every hour, walk to the breakroom to fill up your water bottle and, once again, take the long way. And if you keep your water glass full, you’ll be making even more trips to the bathroom, which means even more opportunities to move!
- Go for a walk during lunch. Walking is a great way to move during the work day. You can be active for several minutes in a row and stay fresh enough that you’re not offensive to your neighboring co-workers when you return. Whether you work in a city or out in the country, there are roads, sidewalks, or trails nearby for you to roam if you only look for them.
- Park at the end of the parking lot. I know it feels like a win when you steal the parking spot right next to the door, especially if the weather is not pleasant. Resist that urge and make finding the parking spot farthest from the door your new goal. Think of the opportunity to move as the new win, not the parking spot.
Some people find this extra movement during the day waste and unproductive, but I assure you it is not. When you take the time to move – taking care of your body – you are also clearing your mind. It’s like hitting a mental “Reset” button. When you return to your work, you are able to focus and be more productive. By taking care of yourself, you improve both the efficiency and outcome of your work.
FitTip: It seems counter-intuitive, but you often have to use energy to get energy. Finding opportunities to move throughout the day not only helps to keep your body in motion, but it also gives you focus and peace of mind. Give it a try! Using the ideas above, find five different times to add movement to your day and you WILL feel better at the end.