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How to Exercise in the Office

Posted by Heather Huhman

June 5, 2012

Today’s workforce is increasingly made up of office jobs, mostly due to our post-Industrial economy. But many reports show that even if you’re getting the recommended amount of daily exercise (30 minutes of moderate activity each day), it still may not be enough to counter the negative effects of sitting at your office desk all day.

According to a post on Forbes, fewer than 20% of today’s jobs involve physical activity, and many people sit for as long as four hours a day at work. In fact, many continue to do sedentary activities when they come home, like watching TV or sitting at the dinner table.

Sitting for prolonged periods of time increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. But many of us can’t quit our jobs to become pro athletes, so how can we break up our days and ensure we’re being active at work? Check out these tips for getting more exercise in the office:


Park farther away. If you can’t walk to work to sneak in some exercise, try to dismiss the urge to park in the closest available spot. Any bit of extra activity helps, and in fact, parking at the back of the lot can start to add up in terms of calories burned.

Use a stability ball. Swapping out your desk chair for a stability ball can help you to burn more calories, tone your abs, and improve your posture and balance. Additionally, you’ll have an exercise tool readily available for when you want to stretch or do mini-workouts. You won’t even have to get up!

Keep weights or a resistance band at your desk. Pull these out whenever you have a break, or even when you’re taking a second to sit back and brainstorm. There are a number of exercises you can do with these tools in the office.

Invest in a treadmill desk. Treadmill desks work to ensure you’re getting exercise while you’re working at your computer. Stand while you work or walk at a comfortable pace of 1-2 mph. You can purchase a treadmill desk or make one yourself—check out some of your choices here. They’re an attractive option if you work from home, but you can also consider asking your boss about installing one in the office. I recently purchased one from LifeSpan, and I can say that walking 3-4 hours per day has given me new energy at work! Worried about not being able to walk and type? I was too, but I’ve found that I can do pretty much anything while going 2 mph.

Working in an office all day doesn’t necessarily mean you have to fall victim to a sedentary lifestyle. Use these tips to stay active, and good luck!

How do you squeeze exercise into your day at the office? Share your tips below.