9 ways to keep yourself active in the office (without drawing attention to yourself)

“Excessive sitting is a lethal activity,” Levine, who has studied sedentary behavior for nearly 20 years and is the most widely quoted expert on the topic, told the New York Times in 2011.

As ever, technology is our friend/foe. Whilst it has allowed many of us to move away from manual labour, and move into this “Idea Generation”, it has also reduced our natural movements which are imperative to leading a long and healthy life. Why should you move more throughout your working day at the office? Sedentary behavior has been linked to diabetes, heart disease and early death. We need to keep active in the office.

It’s true that change is the hardest thing for us humans. We are creatures of habit and as good as our intentions may be, when we are under pressure or simply get bored, these intentions turn back to our old habits. So instead of trying to make a big change, focus on tasks you do everyday in the office and think how you can make them more physically demanding.

1. Take the Stairs

As little as 5 to 10 minutes of highly intensive activity will make a significant difference.

Astra Zeneca Middlewood Court Stairs

Astra Zeneca Middlewood Court Stairs

2. Print off your paper on a printer further away

If you do need to print something, why not challenge yourself to collect it from a far-away printer. You never know, you may bump into Bob along the way which will spark a conversation about that project you are both working on…

Aker Office Floors

Aker Office Floors

3. Instead of emailing your colleague sat on the other side of the office, go and speak to them (bonus points if they are on another floor – you can take the stairs!)

Not only will this get you out of your chair and moving, your eyes will have a break from your computer screen AND you will develop a real-life relationship with your colleague. This interaction will be more engaging and you will both benefit from a happier mind from this social activity!

Astra Zeneca Middlewood Court Warm Up / Cool Down Areas

Astra Zeneca Middlewood Court Warm Up / Cool Down Areas

4. Pacing on the phone

Not only does this make you look important, it also will keep your mind focused and allow you to communicate more effectively by taking a standing posture which gives you a feeling of confidence and power.

5. USE your sit/stand desk

One of the most common misconceptions when a company installs sit/stand desks is that you should stand at them all day. This could cause just as many health problems as sitting at your desk all day. Instead, use your sit/stand desks for it’s designed purpose. Throughout the day, move between a sitting and standing posture and everything in-between. Listen to your body. When you start fidgeting in your chair, get up. When you start leaning against your desk as your legs are tired, sit down. Experts have advised a change in position every 2o minutes. Engrossed in your work? Set a timer. If this constant reminder stresses you out or distracts you, write it on a post-it note and stick it to your screen as a more gentle reminder.


FCA Office Desking

FCA Office Desking

6. Use the bathrooms farther away

If you have multiple bathrooms, explore your building and go to different ones each time. Again, you may bump into Bob for an impromptu catch up!

7. Tea breaks

Use facilities in different and far-away locations. Even get some fresh air and walk to a nearby coffee shop! If you want to fill up your water, use the fountain on the other side of the office.

Aker Solutions Facilities

Aker Solutions Facilities

8. Get a new app

Whilst you may think you are too busy to interrupt your focused work, a break is probably just what you need so you return to the task refreshed and working more efficiently. Take a look at the apps out there which set you activities and remind you when it’s time to step away and move. Yes, cliche and maybe a little annoying but if it reduces your sedentary behavior and increases your life expectancy then…

Stand Up! is a good starting point but there are hundreds out there so you can find one to suit you.

Adobe Office Games Table Tennis Table

Adobe Office Games Table Tennis Table

9. Desk exercises

Have a google – there are a tonne of exercises out there to keep you moving at your desk (some more conspicuous than others!). But at the end of the day, if you want to drop down and do 20, who’s judging? Just maybe do it in a low traffic area. You may even start a company trend…


Any other ideas? Send us an email and we will add it to the list!

You can see more of the offices featured in this post on our projects page of our website. Just click on the image!

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