Creating an Active Workplace

Veronica Models a walking desk

In the last issue of our newsletter, we talked about Creating a Healthy Workplace and promised a follow-up on ways to move at work. Often times, people think of moving more as a means to burn more calories, but moving more has other health benefits such as improvements in productivity, sleep quality, stress management, and blood sugar and blood pressure control.

There are advantages to increasing physical activity and decreasing sedentary time – and those are not necessarily the same thing. All adults should get 30 minutes or more of physical activity each day. By physical activity, we mean “moderate-to-vigorous physical activity” (MVPA) which requires raising your heart rate enough that you are breathing heavier than normal but ideally still able to talk. In addition to that 30 minutes each day of MVPA, studies show that not being sedentary for other parts of the day is also beneficial. This can include activities like standing, slow walking, light gardening, etc. Since many of us spend so many hours each day at work, finding ways to build non-sedentary time into our workplace can make a big difference.

Here are some examples and you can probably think of more:

Employee Using Walking Desk in Her Office

Veronica Rodriguez, Administrative Analyst, Institute for Healthy Living, using a walking desk in her office

Rethink your furniture. There are many office furniture options to help you decrease sedentary time including standing desks, walking desks, desk cycles, and active chairs. These items can be used in a private office or in a shared space (to cut down on cost). For more ideas search online for “active office furniture.”

Use the stairs instead of the elevator every chance you get. If your office is on a floor that is too high for climbing, start off by walking one flight and then take the elevator. See how far you can progress by adding another flight each week.

Take small activity breaks. Set a timer on your phone or computer to remind you to get up and move every hour. This can be as simple as a walk to the water fountain or a few minutes of light yoga. You can also add these breaks to long meetings – your attendees will appreciate it! For more ideas and resources on activity breaks, click here.

Plan walking meetings. Try walking around the block or at a nearby park when meeting one-on-one with someone or taking a conference call.

Fit Your Space – Energizing Office Stretch:

Yoga at Your Desk – Office Yoga:

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