Many people have lives where they sit still all day long. Not moving can be harmful for your health, increasing the risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and several types of cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that Americans have at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Even if you can’t or don’t hit 150 minutes, some movement is better than no movement.
Take breaks. Take breaks for your mental and physical health, including your body as a whole and, if you use screens frequently, your eyes. Try to take your eyes off the screen for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes, and focus on something at least 20 feet away so you can use a different part of your vision. When you take a longer break for the rest of your mind and body, stand up, stretch, and walk around. If you use a fitness tracker, mini-breaks are often rewarded.
Stretch. Move your arms and legs in circles, or bend over to touch your toes. You’re up and moving, and stretching your muscles will help work out any stiffness from being sedentary.
Take a walk during lunch. Exercise, especially outside, is the easiest way to get your minutes of activity and can boost your mood.
Use the less-convenient option. All movement counts toward the 150 minutes of exercise recommended per week, so parking on the far side of the parking lot, getting coffee from another office or using the restroom on another floor all count towards exercise.
Use a sit-stand desk. A sit-stand desk, or one where you can sit down to work or stand up to work, can let you choose the position that is right for you. If your back hurts, you may stand up for an hour while you do administrative work, while you prefer to sit down to concentrate.
Pace on the phone. If you have a private office, you may be able to pace or walk in place when you have a phone call. It gets some movement in and can help wake you up if you’re in a post-lunch slump.
Have standing meetings. Standing meetings are designed to be short meetings, 15 minutes max, about a topic. Standing ensures that people are concise and give only the most important information since the meeting space is not as comfortable as sitting in a meeting room.
The tips here are designed for those who have no health problems reducing their ability to move. Please talk to your doctor if you have any medical conditions that can potentially interfere with physical activity.