8 Simple Ways to Stay Active During the Day

Whether you work at home or in an office, it’s important to move often. Here are some simple ways to stay active throughout the day

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Stay active at work

1. Exercise at your desk

Toronto personal trainer Richard Higgins suggests several lower body exercises you can do while sitting to stay active. “Push up on your toes and rock back on your heels – this pumps blood from the feet up to the heart,” he says. “Don’t cross your legs while sitting because that cuts off circulation. Butt-cheek exercises – putting pressure on one cheek and then the other – are also good.”

Or come up with your own way of exercising your lower body while sitting. Saunders says he purchased a pedal machine for underneath his desk. “Now I can pedal when I work,” he says. “The more muscles you use, the better.”

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Stay active on your lunch break

2. Use your lunch break

Walk, job or cycle during your lunch hour. Try these workout routines that can be done anywhere.

If you’re worried about getting too sweaty, see if there’s a restorative yoga class near your office. You’ll get in a much-needed stretching session without having to shower afterward.

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Hydrate often to stay active

3. Hydrate often

Make regular trips to the water fountain. Not only will you stay hydrated (offices can be dry and stuffy, especially in winter) but you’ll also force yourself to take frequent washroom breaks. When you do have to visit the washroom, use washrooms on different floors to add a few extra steps.

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Stay active with standing

4. Build yourself a standing workplace

If you work from home, you can build yourself a stand-up workstation by placing your computer monitor on a bunch of books on top of your desk and your keyboard on another level. A laptop can be placed on a raised breakfast bar, filing cabinet or bookshelf so you can stand upright, place your hands out in front of you and use the keyboard comfortably. A number of companies are also making standing and adjustable desks.

Then there’s the treadmill desk, which is really a higher-than-normal desk with a treadmill underneath. A one-year study of these desks, published in Obesity, suggests that subjects lost weight while using them (overall, participants lost between three and seven pounds, and obese participants lost between five and eight pounds) without affecting their work performance. There are a number of different kinds of treadmill desks, with room for a computer, phone and even a coffee.

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Visit colleagues to stay active

5. Visit colleagues

Get up and visit your colleagues face-to-face instead of calling them or sending an email.

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Schedule reminders to stay active

6. Schedule reminders

Leave written reminders or use the alarm on your smartphone as a cue to get up every 20 minutes. Or, use a real-time cue, such as standing up whenever the phone rings and for the duration of any phone meetings.

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Walking meetings help you stay active

7. Have walking meetings

The Mayo Clinic suggests that you walk laps with colleagues instead of kicking back and relaxing around a conference table. At Tremblay’s Ottawa workplace, employees book what they call “walking meetings,” which are timed walking loops around the neighbourhood. They even walk outside in the winter, but his office is in a large complex, which allows them to walk around inside, too. As well, when he makes presentations at meetings, they are “sitting optional.” As Tremblay explains, “I tell participants to feel free to stand and walk around as need be and they’ll be healthier for it.”

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Take the stairs to stay active

8. Take the stairs

This is a simple tip but we could all use the reminder. Whenever possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.

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10 Tips for a Happier Workplace

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