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Easy ways to add physical activity at your workplace

GEHA | October 17, 2019

Too much sitting and too little exercise is bad for your health.

Too much sitting and too little exercise is bad for your health. Along with smoking, physical inactivity is considered to be a leading cause of preventable death. As we continue to spend more time at work, often sitting, we need to find creative ways to be more physically active.

Ergonomics is known as adapting a workplace to a person’s needs. It looks at what kind of work you do, what tools you use and your job environment. When looking at ways to be more comfortable and physically active while at work, look at proper office ergonomics.

Correct chair and desk height, position of your computer monitor, keyboard and mouse, and the space between objects on your desk can all make a difference in how comfortable you are at work. More physical activity will also help increase your comfort.

Ways to incorporate physical activity at work:

  • Ride a bicycle to work or on your lunch break.
  • Set a timer and get up to stretch or take a short walk every 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Use a standing desk or other active workstation such as an under-desk elliptical machine, portable desk pedals, stepper machine, treadmill or bicycle-attached workstation.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Eat lunch standing.
  • Walk to a colleague’s desk instead of sending an email or instant message.
  • Do stretches on a break.
  • Keep resistance bands or small hand weights in your desk and do arm curls between meetings or tasks.
  • Walk on your lunch break.
  • Have walking meetings or brainstorming sessions.

Regular physical activity also has long-term health benefits:

  • Control weight and reduce fat.
  • Build muscle and core strength.
  • Condition heart and lungs.
  • Improve sleep.
  • Increase your energy and self-esteem.
  • Relieve stress.
  • Reduce your risk for heart disease, cancer and stroke.

"3 Ways our Workplace Can Promote Your Physical Health.", Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 30 September 2019.
"President's Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition.", U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2023.
"5 exercises you can do without leaving your desk.", Mayo Clinic News Network, 30 November 2022.