11 Tips To Prevent You From Being Sedentary At Work

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

From 1960 to 2008, physical activity among Americans have declined by 20%. This data firmly indicates the increase in sedentary time throughout our meager 24 hour days. In those 24 hours it is recommended that we get 8 hours of sleep per day. Although most of us will receive anywhere between 6 to 9 hours of sleep per day. When considering the average American works between 44 to 47 hours per week, or 8.8 to 9.4 hours per day, many people would consider this to be a manageable work week. However, there is evidence that further suggests these numbers are slightly skewed, because most working Americans would likely add that they work in surplus of 50 hours per week, or an average of 10 hours per day. Now that the needle continues climbing further north, the alarm is beginning to clamor a bit more for those seeking to find more time to increase their daily physical activity.

On top of the growing work hours, the census bureau reported that the average roundtrip commute time is 4.35 hours per week. When added to the suggested 50 hours work week, the sum total time away from home increases to 54.35 hours per week, or 10.87 hours per the 5 day work week. Moreover, these averages are subjected to change when factoring in the particular states, and cities. An example would include comparing the Atlanta metropolitan area to Wichita, Kansas. Respectively, Atlanta’s roundtrip time to work is estimated to be 62.8 minutes compared to 37 minutes for Wichita’s roundtrip time. These adjusted numbers show that Atlanta residents spend an average of 55.23 hours per week away from due to work, or 11.04 hours per day. Once we factor in the recommended 8 hours of sleep time per day, our 24 hour days shrink into 4.96 hours of free time, which is not really free for working parents, and students.

Therefore, this article has set out to educate working adults on the best ways to increase their active time while at work. This is of immense importance, because when factoring in our roundtrip commute time to work, adults spend nearly 50% of their day at work. To make matters worse, many of our professional jobs require that we remain fixed in a seated position, in front of a computer. With that being said, let’s check out the eleven ways we can increase our daily step total while we are at work.

  1. Every 20 minutes get up and walk around for 2 consistent minutes before returning to your seat.

  2. Rise from your workstation and enter other office areas to speak to colleagues instead of emailing or phoning.

  3. Use a smartphone app that frequently reminds you to get up and move around. This will assist you in interrupting prolonged sitting time.

  4. Always take the stairs at work.

  5. Turn waiting time into moving time. This helps when waiting to use the printer, or waiting for your manager to wrap up a meeting.

  6. Enjoy an active lunch by yourself, or with a friend.

  7. Create specific step goals for key periods of your day. An example is to achieve 2,000 before taking your lunch, 5,000 steps after lunch, and have a total of 8,000 steps before you leave work.

  8. Park at the end of the parking lot.

  9. Wear comfortable shoes to work, or pack a pair of comfortable shoes in your purse.

  10. Walk around to handle a work-related phone call.

  11. Be intentional and take the longest route to your desk.

  • (Healy et al. 2008) concluded more time spent in light-intensity activity is associated with less time spent sedentary. This suggests that it may be a feasible approach to promote light intensity activities as a way of ameliorating the deleterious health consequences of sedentary time.

Berger, S. (2018, February 23). These are the states with the longest and shortest commutes - how does yours stack up? Retrieved December 15, 2020, from https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/22/study-states-with-the-longest-and-shortest-commutes.html

Hallman, C. (2020, August 20). 100 U.S. cities, ranked by commute time. Retrieved December 15, 2020, from https://www.titlemax.com/discovery-center/planes-trains-and-automobiles/100-u-s-cities-ranked-by-commute-time/

Thivel, D., Tremblay, A., Genin, P. M., Panahi, S., Rivière, D., & Duclos, M. (2018). Physical activity, inactivity, and sedentary behaviors: Definitions and implications in occupational health. Frontiers in public health, 6, 288. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2018.00288

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