Office exercise: Add more activity to your workday

Too much sitting and too little exercise is bad for your health. So get off your seat and make physical activity — from fitness breaks to walking meetings — part of your daily routine.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You're doing your best to set aside time for physical activity, but finding time to exercise is a challenge. Why not work out while you work? Consider 10 ways to add exercise to your workday routine.

No. 1: Start with your commute

Walk or bike to work. If you ride the bus or the subway, get off a few blocks early or at an earlier stop than usual and walk the rest of the way. If you drive to work, park at the far end of the parking lot — or park in the lot for a nearby building. In your building, take the stairs rather than the elevator.

No. 2: Stand up and work

Standing burns more calories than sitting does. Look for ways to get out of your chair. Stand while talking on the phone. Skip instant messaging and email, and instead walk to a colleague's desk for a face-to-face chat.

No. 3: Take fitness breaks

Rather than hanging out in the lounge with coffee or a snack, take a brisk walk or do some gentle stretching. For example, face straight ahead, then lower your chin to your chest. Or, while standing, grab one of your ankles — or your pant leg — and bring it up toward your buttock. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

No. 4: Bring a fitness ball to work

Consider trading your desk chair for a firmly inflated fitness or stability ball, as long as you're able to safely balance on the ball. You'll improve your balance and tone your core muscles while sitting at your desk. Use the fitness ball for wall squats or other exercises during the day.

No. 5: Keep fitness gear at work

Store resistance bands — stretchy cords or tubes that offer weight-like resistance when you pull on them — or small hand weights in a desk drawer or cabinet. Do arm curls between meetings or tasks.

Feb. 08, 2014 See more In-depth