Stay Active at the Office: Top 13 Tips & Techniques

A woman staying active in an office, standing in front of a desk with a laptop.

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In today’s fast-paced corporate world, many individuals sit at their desks for prolonged periods. While the modern office environment may offer numerous conveniences and comforts, it can inadvertently promote a sedentary lifestyle. But guess what? It’s possible and beneficial to stay active at the office. Let’s explore the hows and whys of integrating movement into your daily office routine.

The Impact of a Sedentary Lifestyle

Before diving into solutions, it’s essential to understand why prolonged sitting can be detrimental. Studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to various health concerns, such as obesity, heart disease, and poor posture. Besides physical health issues, sitting for hours on end can also affect mental well-being. It can lead to feelings of lethargy, reduce creativity, and decrease overall productivity.

However, the silver lining is that you can counteract these effects with just a few modifications to your daily routine.

1. Deskercises – Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk

Desk exercises are exercises specifically designed to be done at your desk. They can range from simple stretches to more involved exercises:

  • Neck Rolls: Gently roll your neck from side to side, forward and backward. This movement helps reduce the tension that often builds up from staring at a computer screen.
  • Seated Leg Raises: Sit straight in your chair, lift one leg off the seat, extend it out straight, hold for a few seconds, and then lower your foot. Switch legs and repeat.

2. Embrace Walking Meetings

Walking meetings have become increasingly popular, especially with the rise in remote working and the need to change scenery. Instead of confining yourself to a conference room, why not take your meetings outdoors or even walk and talk in the corridors of your office?

The benefits are twofold:

  • Physical Activity: It’s a way to fit in some exercise without specifically carving out time for a gym session or a long walk.
  • Boosted Creativity: A change in environment and the act of walking can stimulate your brain, leading to more creative discussions and problem-solving[^2^].

3. Standing Desks: Rise to the Occasion

The popularity of standing desks has skyrocketed and for good reason. These desks allow you to alternate between sitting and standing, reducing the risks associated with prolonged sitting. Standing for parts of your day can increase calorie burn, improve posture, and even boost concentration.

However, it’s essential to note that prolonged standing can also have its downsides, like increased pressure on the legs. The key is to alternate and find a balance that suits you.

4. Take Breaks: The Power of a Five-Minute Walk

Set an alarm to remind you to take short breaks every hour. These breaks are great for your physical health and can do wonders for your mental well-being. A quick stroll around the office or even stepping outside for fresh air can re-energize you, making you more alert and focused upon your return.

5. Opt for the Stairs

In multi-story office buildings, the elevator can be a tempting choice. However, making a habit of using the stairs can be an excellent way for you to infuse a bit of cardio into your day. Taking the stairs helps:

  • Strengthen Your Legs: Regular stair climbing can tone your leg muscles.
  • Increase Your Heart Rate: It’s a simple way to get your heart pumping and improve cardiovascular health.
  • Burn Calories: While it might not seem like much, those calories burned can add up over time.

6. Desk Setups and Ergonomics

A well-organized desk setup that prioritizes ergonomics can contribute significantly to staying active. How, you ask?

  • Correct Chair Height: Ensuring that your chair is at the correct height encourages you to get up more often because it’s easier to stand properly seated.
  • Screen at Eye Level: Having your screen at eye level might lead you to adjust your position more often, promoting slight movements and shifts that can be beneficial over the long haul.
  • Organized Layout: Spreading out your essential items (like a phone or a printer) can ensure that you move more throughout the day, even if it’s just a bit.

7. Team Activities and Challenges

Involve your colleagues and introduce a bit of friendly competition. Office challenges, like “step challenges,” where everyone tracks their steps, can be a fun and interactive way to promote staying active. Not only will this increase physical activity, but it will also foster team bonding and camaraderie.

Additionally, team-building activities outside the office, like group yoga sessions, hiking trips, or even regular walking groups, can make a huge difference.

8. Use Tech to Your Advantage

In an age dominated by technology, why not use it to stay active?

  • Fitness Trackers and Smartwatches: Wearable technology can be a game-changer. These devices often remind you to stand or move after you’ve been inactive for too long. They also help track your daily steps, heart rate, and other vital stats, giving you a clearer picture of your activity levels.
  • Mobile Apps: Countless apps are available that provide quick desk exercises, guided stretches, or even meditation sessions tailored for office-goers. Set reminders to use these apps for short breaks.

9. Hydrate

This might seem unrelated at first, but think about it: if you’re drinking enough water, you’ll naturally need to get up more often to refill your bottle or visit the restroom. Staying hydrated has numerous health benefits; the added bonus for our topic is the extra movement it encourages.

10. Adopt Flexible Workspaces

If your office allows, move around and work from different spaces. Whether it’s a lounge area, a standing desk station, or even a balcony if you’re lucky enough to have one, changing your environment can stimulate your mind and require you to move and adjust to different setups.

Different perspectives can spark creativity, and walking to these spots ensures those steps keep adding up.

11. Personalized Stretching Routine

Implementing a stretching routine specific to your body’s needs can be especially beneficial. For instance:

  • Wrist Stretches: Given that most office work involves typing, stretching out your wrists can prevent conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Back and Shoulder Stretches: These can alleviate the strain caused by sitting and leaning forward toward your computer.

You don’t need a one-size-fits-all routine. It’s about what feels good and addresses your specific points of tension.

12. Mindful Breathing and Mini Meditation Sessions

While these aren’t physical exercises, they can significantly improve your overall well-being. Taking moments to focus on your breathing, even setting aside 2-3 minutes for a quick meditation or mindfulness exercise, can re-center your mind. This mental activity boosts cognitive function and can promote an active mindset, which can lead to increased physical activity.

13. Get Creative

Remember, staying active doesn’t always mean traditional exercises:

  • Dance Breaks: Put on your favorite tune and move a little. It’s a mood lifter and gets the blood flowing.
  • Desk Plants: Taking care of a small plant can provide a few moments of activity and care. Plus, they brighten up your space!


Staying active at the office isn’t just about the physical; it’s a blend of mental, emotional, and physical well-being. By integrating these strategies and making small yet consistent changes, you can easily combat the drawbacks of a sedentary office lifestyle. Remember, it’s about movement, no matter how small. Every step, stretch, or short break can contribute to a healthier, more active, and more productive you.


How often should I take breaks when working at the office?

Ideally, you should aim for a short break every hour. It could be as brief as 5 minutes, but that short time can be instrumental in reducing fatigue.

Are standing desks expensive?

The price can vary depending on features and brands. However, affordable options are available, and many companies are now investing in them as a part of employee wellness programs.

Can I really get a good workout at the office?

While the office might not replace a gym workout, you can certainly maintain an active lifestyle with consistent small activities and exercises.

I wear formal attire to work. How can I stay active?

Choose comfortable formal shoes, and maybe keep a pair of sneakers at the office. This way, you can easily switch when intending to take longer walks or use the stairs.
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