5 creative ways to increase physical activity at work

Sitting at a desk for a living can have a negative impact no matter how much exercise you do before or after work. Finding time to move during these hours is important for your overall health and fitness goals.

It is therefore useful to know what you can do about it. In this article, we’ll explore creative ways to fit more activity into your workday, whether you’re working from home or in the office.

The importance of movement at work


Illustration of a person lifting weights

He is valued that sedentary office jobs have increased by 83% since 1950, which means people are exercising less. However, the key factor here is that people are spending more time sitting, which can cause problems even if you exercise outside of the office.

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for anything other than sport-based exercise and keeping your body functioning. Here are some examples of NEAT:

  • Housework, such as cleaning and vacuuming.
  • Gardening.
  • Walk every day.
  • Upright.
  • Cycling to work.
  • Up and down the stairs.
  • Perambulate.

As you can see, NEAT is something that fits into other activities. It can be easily increased or decreased depending on the daily opportunities you have to move around.

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For example, when you go to work, you can choose to drive or ride a bike. Driving a car requires very little energy, while cycling is a fantastic way to get your heart pumping. Both options allow you to go from A to B, but have very different effects on your health.

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By finding ways to maximize activity and movement at work, you’ll be more likely to reach your fitness and weight goals. In addition, you will also benefit from an improvement in your concentration, energy, mood and appetite.

So, let’s look at some creative ways to start introducing more NEAT into your professional life.

1. Use Pomodoro Breaks for Activity


Person doing yoga on a yoga mat

The Pomodoro Technique is great for increasing productivity and overcoming procrastination. By taking a five-minute break every 25 minutes of deep work, with a few longer breaks to spread out the day, you improve your focus.

However, by doing some form of activity during these five-minute breaks, you naturally increase your NEAT and easily fit the activity into your workday. Plus, you get double the benefits of using this productivity technique alongside movement.

The activity you choose can be anything from getting out of your seat and taking a walk, or doing some quick yoga near your desk. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you move.

Related: The Best Pomodoro Timer Chrome Extensions for Deep Work

If you need something to let you know when you need to take those breaks, there are some really helpful Pomodoro apps you can use. Alternatively, you can set your phone’s timer to go off every 25 minutes.

2. Use messaging apps on the go


Illustration of two phones side by side with message icons

The advantage of having messaging apps is that you can send and reply to emails while you are on the go. This gives you the flexibility to get away from your desk while continuing to work.

Whether you use Outlook, Google Mail or any other host, log into your work email on your phone and start moving. Schedule time at the start of your day to respond to emails, so you can focus on just that. Not only does this make sense with regards to efficiency and your health, but it also caters to any multitasking habits you might have.

You can walk around the office or outside, or you can do sit-ups while holding your phone. It might take a little getting used to, but it’s definitely worth a try if you want to increase your activity.

Related: How to Read Emails Aloud in Microsoft Outlook

3. Move during your lunch break

It will all depend on how much time you have, but exercising on your lunch break is an easy way to stay active at work. Plus, it will allow you to create a healthy routine and keep you from working on your break.

It’s best to do your activity before you eat, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to eat. If you have an hour off, you might want to go for a 20-minute jog or walk, or do some gym-style exercises. There are also great apps for on-demand and live fitness classes that you can take advantage of.

Related: Social Workout Apps for Working Out With Friends and Reaching Fitness Goals Together

Don’t forget to do a short recovery afterwards and eat your lunch. There’s no point in reaching your exercise goals if you don’t provide your body with adequate nutrition. Plus, you’ll need these nutrients to keep working optimally.

4. Walk into small meetings


Illustration of two people walking in the park

Small meetings and one-on-ones don’t have to be limited to a room or your computer. Ask your co-workers or your boss if they would rather have a meeting on foot or on the move.

This will depend on your team’s preferences, of course, but you may find that your colleagues also want to increase their activity. It’s also a great excuse to get out and soak up the sun on sunny days. If the weather doesn’t allow it, you can always take a walk inside or use an on-site gym.

Also, if you need to keep track of what’s being discussed, you can always use the Otter app to turn your speech into text notes.

5. Use the equipment to exercise at your desk

On days when you have deadlines to meet and you really need to be at your desk to get things done, you might want to opt for desk exercise equipment. Although you are seated, all movement counts towards your activity goals and should not be ignored.

You can choose to use a mini exercise bike, which is basically just the pedals of a bike that you can place under your desk. There are alternatives to this, such as mini stepper machines designed to make an activity an integral part of office work.

However, if you want an inexpensive way to exercise at your desk, there are various desktop exercise tutorial apps that provide great step-by-step suggestions.

Related: Apps that make fitness more fun

Increased activity during office hours

Since inactivity is easy to fall for, finding ways to move more at work is a great idea. With the tips mentioned above, you don’t even have to walk away from your tasks.

Commit to increasing workplace activity and you’ll see how seamless it can be. Plus, you’ll benefit from your healthy new routine, and maybe even get your teammates to join in.



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