10 small changes you can make to stay active at work

Written by Benjamin Asghari at Edenred

“Healthy body, healthy mind”. Everyone knows the saying but with the average employee spending more sedentary time because they are desk-bound, commuting in cars or driving as part of their work, it can be tough to stay fit at work.

However, little tweaks to your everyday routine at work can make a big difference to your wellbeing. Here are 10 ideas to help keep you on the move during the working day:

Walk the final third

A few years ago someone I know shifted their spare tyre by picking the furthest space from their office building to park their car. Walking an extra 20 minutes a day worked wonders and give him confidence to up their exercise in general. Think about how you could do the same by parking a bit further away.

Stairs not lifts

For some reason a trip up a couple of flights of stairs which we would do without thinking at home is always done by lift in the office. Break the habit go by foot – even if it is only for one flight – instead of defaulting to the lift every time.

Get the tea round in

The most popular people in my office are the ones who get regular tea rounds in. Take advantage of getting time on your feet and stretching your limbs to walk to the office kitchen and get the hot drinks in. Better still, be the one who pops to the coffee shop to get some fresh air.

Use the toilets further away – If you’re keeping hydrated at work, then the chances are you’ll need a trip to the loo a few times each day. Increase the distance you travel by going to the toilets in a different part of the office.

Standing meetings

Meetings are prime-time for long periods of sitting down. Research shows standing meetings shorten their length and are better for you. Lobby your boss to introduce them. And if you’re the boss, there’s no excuse not to start now.

Find a new sandwich shop

As creatures of habit many of us go to the same place to get the same lunch to eat at the same desk each day. Change things up by finding new places to by lunch and, in the summer, new places to eat outside if its possible. See your lunchtime as a time to exercise and enjoy your food, not a time to stuff a sandwich from the nearest shop down your neck.

Take a non-smoking break

Everyone is allowed a break during the working day – not just smokers. Make your new health habit a non-smoking break by going outside for some fresh air twice a day.

Lunch-time sport

This is the obvious one. It doesn’t have to be sweaty visit to a gym: a walk, yoga or pilates are all alternatives which will keep you mobile rather than desk-bound – it’s your time afterall.

Find a new pre- or post-work routine

Most of us follow the path of least resistance to and from work each day. Try to identify a time in the working day each week when you could find time to join a club or do some sort of activity. If you have a long commute, doing something near the office after work will save you time in the car and put you in  great state of mind for the evening.

Cycle or walk to work

The best option of all for most of us is to stop using cars, trains and buses and get to work under our own steam. Starting in the summer months, if it’s feasible, think about cycling or walking to work.

There are lots of ideas here and not everyone will suit you but the critical point is to step back, question your habits and identify where you can choose activity over inertia. Take time to do this and you’ll soon reap the benefits.

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