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17 Ways to Get Your Steps in at Work

Aim for 10,000 steps per day.

“Move more and sit less.” That’s a key recommendation of the new federal Physical Activity Guidelines to help Americans get healthier. An easy way to ensure that you’re getting enough activity is to track your steps. Aim for 10,000 a day for general health benefits, more if weight loss is your goal. Here are at-work strategies to help you hit that number.

  1. Park offsite and walk to your office building.
  2. Hop off the bus or train a stop or two early.
  3. Keep sneakers in your car or office to take a walk whenever you can.
  4. Greet colleagues personally by taking a quick morning stroll through the office. Remember the goal is to move so don’t get caught up in long conversations. Just a friendly hi.
  5. Choose stairs over elevators and escalators.
  6. Drink lots of water. You’ll have to make more bathroom trips.
  7. Dress casually whenever possible. Research shows you’ll move more throughout the day than when you’re in more traditional business attire.
  8. Schedule a walking meeting instead of a sitting one
  9. Stroll to lunch even if you have to drive part of the way. Or walk afterwards.
  10. Use restrooms and water fountains on other floors or other areas of the building.
  11. Pace while talking on the phone.
  12. Grab a walk instead of a snack. (Bonus: You’ll burn calories instead of consuming them.)
  13. Climb an extra flight of stairs every time you use them.
  14. Send fewer emails, walking to talk to co-workers instead.
  15. Ditch the coffee break for a walking one. You’ll get just as good of an energy boost.
  16. Set an hourly alert every time you sit down. If it goes off and you haven’t moved, take a 3- to 5-minute stroll.
  17. Join a step challenge or create your own. Competing against others can motivate you to move more.

Active Workers are Productive Workers

If you’re thinking that you don’t have time for all of this walking, consider the benefits.  A little up-and-moving time may help you get more done when you’re at your desk. Here’s how.

Better mental health. Workers who participated in a 100-day, 10,000 step challenge reported lower levels of stress and anxiety and improvements in their mood and feelings of well-being. A byproduct of those changes may be reduced absenteeism, greater productivity, and improved quality of life, according to other studies.

Work enjoyment. When workers took a lunchtime walk, they reported feeling more enthusiastic and positive about their jobs. And happy workers tend to be more productive and less likely to go looking for a new job.

Greater creativity. People generated twice as many creative solutions to problems when they were walking compared to sitting. The creative juices kept flowing even after they sat down.

Less snacking. A 15-minute walk has been shown to reduce cravings for sweets and chocolate.

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