Keep Active at Work

men and women walking in business suits

Being active at work can help you be more productive and lower stress. The good news is, every bit of activity counts! Read on to find out how much physical activity you need and how to get active at work.

Physical activity and your health

We need about 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of physical activity per week to feel great and be healthy. Even 10 minutes of activity at a time has benefits. 

Since many of us spend a large part of the day at work, including physical activity as part of your workday can help you reach your physical activity goals.

If have a medical condition, speak to your health professional before starting a physical activity routine. 

How to get active at work

Take a break from work

  • Stand up and stretch. Whether you spend most of your day standing, sitting, or on the go, a short stretch break each hour can help you fight fatigue and relieve sore muscles.
  • Go for a 10 minute power walk instead of taking a coffee break.
  • If you sit at a desk, get up and move often. Walk down the hall to speak to a co-worker instead of emailing or calling.

During your lunch hour

  • Take a 20 minute walk around the neighbourhood.
  • Walk up and down 5 (or more) flights of stairs. Check that the stairway is safe, clean and has good lighting.
  • Start a lunchtime running or walking club with friends at work.
  • Sign up for a fitness class at your work’s gym or go for a swim at a nearby community centre.   

Before and after work

  • Walk, cycle, in-line skate or wheel to work.
  • Park your car at the far end of the parking lot or get off the bus two stops earlier and walk the rest of the way to work. Every little bit counts!
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or get off the elevator a few floors earlier and then walk up to work.   

With the work team

  • Give everyone a pedometer and start a walking club. First person to take 10,000 steps at work wins a small prize!  
  • Start a stair-climbing club. It’s a fun way to encourage co-workers to take the stairs at work.
  • Ask your employer to set up a stretching room or hire a fitness instructor to offer early morning or lunchtime stretch, yoga or fitness classes.
  • Register a team for a good cause in your community, such as a walk, bike or stair-climbing fundraiser.   

At work meetings

  • Put a 3-4 minute stretch break on the meeting agenda to keep everyone feeling energized.
  • Have a “walk-and-talk” meeting with a colleague instead of talking on the phone.
  • Build in a couple of 20 minute activity breaks for full-day meetings and conferences. 

Bottom line

Getting active at work just makes sense because we often spend a large part of the day there. Every little bit counts! In fact, even 10 minutes of activity at a time has benefits. Need more inspiration to get active at work? 

You may also be interested in

10 “SMART” physical activity goals

Fall for physical activity

Physical activity tips for adults 

Last Update – November 7, 2018

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