To achieve good health, experts often recommend walking at least 10,000 steps a day. For those who work in sedentary office jobs, however, this can sometimes seem like a daunting challenge.
A growing body of research shows us just how important it is to combat inactivity. Long periods of sitting are said to lead to increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer. The World Health Organisation even listed inactivity as the fourth biggest risk factor for global adult mortality.
But it’s not all doom and gloom – there are plenty of ways you can be more active in the workplace. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Walk or ride at least part of the way to work
If you can bike or walk (or even run) to work, this can be an excellent way to fit more activity into your day – and you’ll arrive feeling fresh and energised, with a clear mind.
Of course, not everyone lives close enough for this to be a realistic option, but you can still find ways to make at least part of your trip more active. Get the train part of the way and ride the rest, get off the tram a few stops early and walk, or park your car a kilometre or two away. Try a few different things and see what works for you.
2. Volunteer for the coffee run
Go out and get your coffee, tea or smoothie instead of letting someone else pick one up for you. Even better, you could make it a challenge to try a new place each day for a week, instead of always going for the closest option. Taking a stroll with some colleagues is a quick and easy way to relax, socialise and get in some more physical activity.
3. Have standing or walking meetings
We all have those meetings that stretch on for an hour, but could really be accomplished in 15 minutes. Try organising a standing meeting – research shows this can be a good way to increase efficiency, making sure things don’t drag on unnecessarily, as well as getting you out of your chair.
For smaller groups or one-on-ones, a walking meeting can be a great way to get things done while getting in a little physical activity. The change of pace and scenery can also help reduce tensions and encourage more creativity and free-flowing conversation.
"Tracking your activity can be an excellent way to motivate yourself and keep you reminded of your goals."
4. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
Studies have shown that when you wear comfortable clothes and shoes to work you are more likely to be more active. It makes perfect sense – taking the stairs looks a lot less appealing when you’re in towering high heels or a stiff suit.
Even if your work dress code requires you to wear more formal clothes, chances are there are ways you can make your clothing more comfortable – whether it’s investing in a great pair of flats, choosing a chunkier heel that’s easier to walk in, or finding a suit made from a more breathable and movable fabric.