I’m no stranger to being confined to a chair all day. Nearly all of my jobs prior to my job now required standing, walking around, heavy lifting… even being a student I was constantly darting around campus and easily racking up 12,000-15,000 steps a day – so starting a desk job was a little bit of a culture shock for me. At first, in terms of my health, it didn’t seem so bad. But eventually the weight gain began, my spine and neck started to feel all out of whack, and my energy level was at an all time low.
Even after graduating with a degree in health + exercise science, I still fell victim to the side effects of a sedentary desk job. But last year when my weight gain and the noticeable decline in my overall health started to become more than I could take anymore, I worked on changing some of my habits for while I’m at work.
250 steps every hour
I currently have a Fitbit vs. an Apple Watch, but I believe they both have similar functions in terms of reminding you to get up and walk just a little bit every hour. I used to be so annoyed with the hourly buzzing, but it’s come to be a huge help. Getting those 250 steps in every hour helps me wake up a little bit, boosts my mood, and helps me stretch out. Plus it’s nice to do something to break up the monotony of the day a little bit.
take some breaks
I usually take 15-20 minutes out of my morning + afternoon to go walk around outside. Some days I might even take the last half of my lunch break to get some extra steps in too. It’s honestly easier to do during the winter because the humid heat is a bit of a deterrent for me, so during the summer I might go to a quiet stairwell and just walk up and down them to at least get something done.
I love getting to take my walking breaks because not only are they good for me physically, but the mental + emotional break away from the stress of work is good too.
I don’t have a standing desk at work, so if you do, consider yourself blessed lol Whenever things are slow around the office I like to get out of my chair and get stretched out a little bit. Plus the extra calorie burn is always nice! I just notice the longer I’m in my chair, the more hunched over I get, and the more I hurt, especially over time.
Fitbit has a challenges setting so you can compete with other friends that have Fitbits for the most steps. Let’s admit that competition always makes things more interesting, whether you’re doing it to motivate each other or you actually have a wager of some sort going. Sometimes at work we’ll get everyone involved by creating departmental challenges – it just makes things more interesting and motivates you to actually take your breaks.
Being active at work can look different for everyone, so sometimes it takes trial-and-error to find out what works for you! But there is almost always a way you can beat the sedentary days at work – you just have to find it!