The workplace is one of the most important settings in which to integrate healthy living behaviors. Although it is generally not feasible to get in any exercise while at work, it is certainly possible to accumulate steps during your time away from home. This is especially important if you work in an office, where you may be at risk of being sedentary for hours at a time. Here are five tips to increase your number of steps at work:
1. Drink more water!
Why are we talking about water? I thought this was about steps? In fact, drinking more water, in addition to being a healthy practice in and of itself, will lead to more steps in two ways. Firstly, it is a good excuse to get up and walk over to the kitchen area or water fountain to fill up your water bottle. Consider drinking some water while standing in the kitchen or by the fountain for a short while before returning to your desk. Secondly, drinking more water will inevitably lead to more bathroom breaks. Walking to and from the bathroom is another great way to rack up the steps throughout the day.
Pro Tip: If you work in a multi-story building, consider talking the stairs up to the washroom one floor above or below you. Over the day, this small difference will produce big increases in overall step count.
2. Take the stairs!
This is a pretty easy one. If you work in a multi-story building and your floor isn’t too high up, consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If your floor is a little too high, and it isn’t reasonable to climb the stairs all the way up there from the ground floor, consider getting off a couple floors below and taking the stairs the rest of the way. Remember, this tip doesn’t have to be isolated to your office. If you’re going to a meeting or to see a client in a different office, the same tips apply!
3. Park strategically!
Although walking to work is the ultimate step-producing machine, this isn’t a feasible practice for most folks out there. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t rack up the steps outside of the office. If you drive to work, consider choosing a parking spot that has a reasonable distance from the front door. Walking from the car at the beginning of the day will give you an extra active start to the day.
4. Lunch on the go!
The time you have in the middle of the day for lunch is one of the best opportunities to get some extra steps in. Find a nice spot outside of the office to eat your lunch, and stroll around afterwards. This not only increases your daily step count, but the extra activity will allow you to return to your work more focused and attentive.
5. Make your meetings active!
Have a meeting with one or two other people? Consider taking the meeting on the go! A walking meeting is definitely feasible in small groups and allows you to stay active while also being productive. Many organizations have started implementing walking meetings, and report that the practice of walking around while thinking allows their teams to come up with more creative solutions to problems!