Do you spend way too much sitting time at your desk? I know I do! Since “sitting is the new smoking,” I’m always looking for ways to work in more movement. So I was delighted to read my blogger friend Jebbica’s post 8 Ways to Get More Steps if You Have a Desk Job.
Not only was her article full of great ideas, but her list got me thinking about even more ways to get active, all without setting foot in a gym. Since we could all use a little more motion, here are 7 fun ways to work more steps into your day.
Your FitBit—and your body—will thank you!
1. Take the stairs…and stair-climbing breaks
When I interned at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, pretty much everyone took the stairs, so I did too. Since my
office cube was on the 4th floor and I was a little out of shape, I was panting by the time I got there. (Which made me look exceedingly cool. 😉 ) However, in just a few short weeks, I was taking those stairs in stride. In fact, I even took to walking the stairs when I needed to clear my head. Not only did I get more steps, but I came back to my desk energized and able to work more effectively.
So if you work in a building with stairs, use them whenever you can to boost your fitness and your productivity!
2. Have walking meetings
If you’re meeting with just one or two people, review your meeting goals and then head outside for discussion. This works especially well for brainstorming and problem-solving meetings, as the activity and change of scenery can encourage outside-the-box thinking. Bring a pad of paper to jot notes as needed and watch your step count soar.
3. Join (or start) a lunchtime walking group
Another perk of interning at the Physicians Committee: They had a lunchtime walking club. Not only was walking a great way to break up the day, but I got to know my coworkers on a personal level. Bonus: One of them was an urban forager, so I learned about wild edibles along the way!
4. Take a chore break instead of a snack break
If you work from home, this one’s for you. Make a list of mini-chores you can do in 5 minutes or less. Mine includes things like folding a load of laundry, vacuuming one room, sweeping the kitchen, and tidying the living room. When you feel a snack attack coming on, but you’re not actually hungry, knock out one of your mini-chores instead.
You see, often what we’re looking for when we crave a snack is the “reward” feeling, which comes from a feel-good brain chemical called dopamine. Luckily, accomplishing anything—including a quick chore—can give us that same blast of dopamine.1 So try chores instead of chips—you’ll score more steps and fewer calories.
5. Cook dinner and eat off real plates
Next time you’re tempted to order in, make dinner instead. I know it seems silly, but you can burn a surprising number of calories just making your own meal. Also, use real plates instead of paper; you can rack up extra steps doing dishes. In fact, according to Shape.com, cooking and doing dishes for 40 minutes burns more than 120 calories. Who knew?
6. Make your own standing desk (and use it)
Using a standing desk won’t necessarily get you more steps, but it sure will get you on your feet. And while you can drop thousands on a fancy, adjustable standing desk, you can make your own for a song.
For example, my standing desk, which sits on top of the deep-freeze in my office (could I be any classier?), was made from an Ikea side table for about $25. Although, true confession, Jeff is actually the one who built it, because he loves that sort of thing. You can find step-by-step instructions for making your own at ApartmentTherapy.com.
Then, ideally, you should actually use it. I’m still working on that part. 🙂
7. Bust a move
Yeah, I’m talking to you…I know you love to dance when no one’s looking! I don’t care if you have to have to lock yourself in the bathroom where no one can see you, but take 5 minutes a day and boogie. Not only will you get extra steps, but dancing can help fight anxiety and boost your mood, too.2 Here are three songs I love for cutting loose:
Hope this list has given you ideas for working more steps into your day! Now it’s…
How do you work more movement into your day? Leave a comment and share your tip!Click here for references and image credits
- Bergland C. The Neuroscience of Perseverence. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201112/the-neuroscience-perseverance. December 26, 2011. Accessed February 25, 2016.
- Svoboda E. Dance Therapy: Spin Control. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200703/dance-therapy-spin-control. March 1, 2007. Reviewed November 20,2015. Accessed February 25, 2016.