Sneak Some Exercise Into Your Work Day

Julie Shenkman
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Regular physical activity is a must to maintain your health and prevent disease, but it can be difficult to maintain an active lifestyle if you spend most of your workday behind a desk. Sitting for long periods has been linked to several health conditions, so it's important to find ways to step away from the desk throughout the day. This is easier than you may think, says Locke Hughes, senior lifestyle editor for

Go For a Walk

Use any and every opportunity to step away from your desk and walk around during the workday. Using your legs helps improve blood circulation and increase energy levels. Try taking a walk during your lunch break and walking to co-workers' desks in lieu of emailing or calling them. Take the long way to the restroom, or use one on a different floor. Try to get up and move around at least once an hour, even if only for a quick walk to the water cooler. If you have a hard time remembering to get up regularly, try marking it on your calendar as if it were an important appointment or meeting, suggests Hughes.

Take the Stairs

If your building has an elevator, ditch it in favor of the stairs. Walking up just a few flights gets your heart rate up, supplying your muscles and brain with a burst of energy-boosting blood and oxygen.

Enlist Others

You don't have to be the only one in the office trying to move more during the workday. Try organizing a group activity like yoga or Zumba with some of your co-workers. It's a great way to socialize and let off some steam. If there's no space available, try getting people to join you on a daily walk around the building.

Stretch it Out

There may be times during a busy workday when you simply can't get up and leave your desk. Try doing some seated stretches to help relax and relieve some tension. Breathe deeply and take your time as you stretch your neck, arms and shoulders. Taking short stretch breaks throughout the workday also helps you remember good posture.

Work Out Outside of Work

Start an exercise routine before or after work to help strengthen your muscles and bones. A stronger, fitter body is better equipped to endure long periods of inactivity. Aim for three to four sessions of moderate exercise each week to strengthen your heart and boost circulation. Pick an activity that you enjoy and it won't feel like work.

As you embark on your office workout routine, don't be worried of embarrassing yourself in front of co-workers. It is likely they will admire your efforts, and if you can get them to join you, that's even better, says Hughes. Use these creative strategies to enrich your workday with more physical activity and watch your health, mood and productivity improve exponentially.

Photo courtesy of Ambro at


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