Getting Your Steps In at Your 9 to 5 Job
By Kayla Garritano
For those who like working a set schedule, a 9 to 5 offers you that stability, and is ideal to get you in and out with no obligations once you leave the office. Although it does have perks, you’re trapped at your desk all day with little to almost no mobility, which isn’t ideal. Your back hurts, your neck aches, and you develop headaches from staring at your screen all day. You may feel as if you’re trapped at your desk and there’s no way for you to move.
A lot of us, no matter the age, are trying to get our required amount of steps in per day. We now have watches, phones and other devices to motivate us each day, but it’s not always an easy task when you feel as if you have nowhere to go.
People who work a 9-5 desk job look for ways to get up and get moving. Here are some ways to make sure you get your steps in at the office:
1. Longer Trips to the Water Cooler
First of all, let’s hope you’re drinking the required amount of water per day. If you are, that means you get to take a nice trip or two to the water cooler (or fountain). There are so many different opinions on how much water you should drink, but the common idea is to follow the 8x8 rule, meaning you should try to drink eight 8-ounce glasses each day. Think about it, the more water you drink, the more opportunity it gives you to get up and take a walk. It’s a win-win situation!
With that being said, every time you have the chance to take a walk to the water cooler, take a longer path. For example, if the water cooler is down the hall from you, go a different direction to take extra steps. Where I work, the water cooler is upstairs. There’s a staircase next to my office, which leads closer to the break room, or there’s a staircase down the hall and further away from the break room. Take the longer trip!
2. Laps Around the Building
Your body can feel restricted at the desk. Besides all the hunching you do, your legs can feel cramped under the desk. There’s nowhere to move them and you struggle to make yourself comfortable after a while. You need to stretch out your legs and get them moving. Whenever you feel as if your body needs a break, take a lap. You don’t need a destination; you just need a quick break. Your legs will thank you. Plus, it gets you away from your desk for a little bit. You don’t need to take long, but at least you get a quick breather from your work, and you get some more steps in. According to a bunch of studies, it is healthy for you to take a few short breaks throughout the day, and we can’t go against science!
3. Take the Stairs, Not the Elevator
This one may sound tough, but it’s such a beneficial task. Most of us, especially if we’ve had a long day, tend to look the other way at the stairs if there’s an elevator or escalator near. But there are so many benefits to taking the stairs you may not even have known about. Besides all the extra steps you’re taking, climbing stairs can improve the amount of “good cholesterol” in the blood. It can also increase leg power and helps you create stamina. Climbing stairs burns more calories per minute than jogging, and in the long run reduces cardio risk by more than 30%. There is even an environmental impact by cutting down carbon. We see nothing but good factors here, so there should be no reason to not take the stairs if you are capable to!
4. Treadmill Desks
Treadmill desks aren’t always an option, but if your company allows them, the benefits to having one are nothing to run from. Despite the incredible amount of extra steps you’d be putting in to your work day, there is so much more physical and mental health reasons to try this out. It will improve your mood during the long work day, reduce stress work may bring you, and even increases your work productivity and creativity. It will also lower your blood pressure, help maintain strong bones, and reduce the risk of/help manage type-2 diabetes. Of course, you’ll need a break from the constant walking, but this will keep you motivated all day.
If you can’t get a treadmill desk, see if you can get the stand-up ones. It may not be walking, but it will allow you to both stand and sit as the day goes by, giving you all the benefits of standing as opposed to sitting as well.
5. Lunch Break Walks
If you are able to have a break for lunch, this is a great opportunity for you to get a few more steps in. You get the opportunity to walk around. If you’re anywhere near food places, you can walk down and grab your lunch instead of driving. It may even be a quicker option than driving because you’re not circling and looking for a parking spot. You’ll also be able to burn a few more calories before you dig into your lunch for the day. Especially if it’s a beautiful day out, you’re going to want to take advantage of being outside. Not many offices allow you to work from outside (mostly because there’s no way to bring your desktop outside), so why not take a walk and enjoy the beautiful weather when you can?