People who work in an office setting spend the majority of their day sitting. If this is you, chances are that you sit at your desk for at least eight hours. It’s also likely that you sit while commuting to and from work. And—after such a long day—you may decide to join the millions of Americans who decompress on the sofa while watching TV.

Guess what? All this nonstop sitting is detrimental to your health!

Spending most of your time inactive, whether sitting or standing in one place for hours on end, without physical activity increases your risk of obesity (and the slew of illnesses that can come with being overweight), back pain, poor posture and varicose veins. If that news isn’t bad enough, current studies suggest that even regular workouts don’t actually offset the damage done by sitting throughout the rest of the day. In other words, you can’t make up for all that sitting by exercising in a one-hour block.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to easily add movement to your workday and break up those long periods of sitting.


  • Take frequent breaks throughout the day.
    • If you sit a lot during the day, take every chance you can to move around—or at least change your position frequently. The following are examples of how you can add movement to your day:
      1. Stand while taking a phone call.
      2. Stand up while you work on the computer. Try this with a “standing desk” or, if you can, raise your desk to a level that allows your elbows to bend at a 90-degree angle.
      3. Stretch your body as much as you want to help maintain your flexibility.
      4. Actually take your break. This means leave your desk, walk to the break room, walk across the office to chat with a colleague or simply take this time to walk around the building and clear your head while you get your blood flowing.
  • Sneak in exercise wherever you can.
    • A lot of people are self-conscious about being seen exercising, and that’s ok. You can do the following exercises on the sly:
      1. Kick your legs back and forth under your desk.
      2. Suck in your abs, clench your glutes and hold them in place as you sit.
      3. Intentionally park near the back of the parking lot so you have to walk a little further.
      4. Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.
      5. Instead of emailing or sending an instant message to your coworker, get up, walk over to her and talk to her in person.
      6. The restroom is the perfect place to exercise incognito. You can march in place, do jumping jacks, squats and much more within the small space of a bathroom stall.
      7. Rely on your coworkers for support.
  • Research has long shown that people are more likely to reach exercise goals when they have someone to hold them accountable and show encouragement. Plus, it’s no fun to go it alone! Gather a group of fitness-minded coworkers to get active together during the day or outside of work. Meet on breaks or at a designated time to participate in some type of group exercise such as fast walking around the building, climbing stairs or doing yoga in an empty office.