8 tips to be more active at the office

My job requires me to sit behind my computer for pretty much the whole day. Research has shown that sitting most of the day (also called sedentary behavior) is associated with diabetes type II and cardiovascular diseases. This also accounts for people who fit the physical activity norms like me!

A quick reminder, the physical activity norm is met when an adult meets at least one of the two following norms:
  1. Physical activity of moderate intensity (like walking or riding a bicycle) for at least 30 minutes a day, on at least 5 days a week
  2. Physical activity of high intensity (like bootcamp, running or any other sport focusing on the large muscle groups of your body; cardio & strength) for at least 3 times a week for a minimum 20 minutes each time.
Numbers from 2011 for the Dutch population show that about 75% of the Dutch adults meet at least one of these norms (59% meets norm 1 and 20% meets norm 2). In addition, adults are sedentary for 6.6 hours per working day.

Luckily, recent research also shows that by making small changes throughout your workday the risks on the diseases associated with sedentary behavior decline. Activities of 2 minutes each can already positively impact your overall health. But keep in mind that you always should avoid sitting for two hours straight or longer or it won't have an effect!

So here are some tips that can help you to be more active at the office!

  • If possible, use the public transport to go to work instead of your car: You'll have to walk or cycle to the station or stop and from the station to the office. As a bonus, you can stand during the ride (a positive way to look at the crowded trains). If it's not possible to take public transport and you have to use the car, park in the spot the furthest away from the office entrance so you need to walk a little more.
  • Use the stairs! Make a rule for yourself and your colleagues. My rule is that I have to take the stairs every time I go up four or less floors and always take the stairs when going down! If you're office building has many floors, for example 10, than take the elevator to the 6th floor and from there take the stairs. 
  • Introduce lunch walks! Instead of having lunch in the companies cafeteria you can also change it up a bit and walk with a group of colleagues to a nearby shop or restaurant to pick up some healthy sandwiches or you could just go for a 20 minute walk in the surrounding of the office. Who knows maybe you'll find a beautifull park! As a bonus you'll get to enjoy some fresh air to keep you going the rest of the day.
  • Introduce standing meetings. Instead of always sitting down during a brainstorm session or meeting, stand up! By having an active posture you will also prevent feelings like tiredness.
  • Walk over to a colleagues desk to ask a question instead of sending an email or picking up the phone. This also stimulates social interaction!
  • Get your own coffee and prints. These little walks to the coffee corner or printer give you room to stretch your legs and get away from the computer and in general they take 2 minutes or longer.
  • Take hourly activity breaks for at least 2 minutes. You can do some stretching, squats, push-ups you name it! Maybe even your colleagues want to join you!
  • Ask your boss for the possibilities of standing tables. These tables allow you to do your work behind the computer while standing. However, don't stand still for longer than 1 hour to avoid any health problems and diseases associated with standing!

If you have other tips leave them in the comments below! Interested to read what you do to be more active at work!