How I Stay Active Working A “9-5” Desk Job

While many people in my classes think I just live the fitness life of teaching classes/training people (I wish!), I do have a regular “9-5” job (which is actually more like a 7-5 job, but who’s counting 😉 ) that requires me to do more sitting than I need/want. I try my best to stay as active as possible throughout the day, but I’ll admit: when you’re super busy with back to back meetings, it can be hard to get a lot of movement in! I’ve touched upon this topics a few times  before on the blog, but as there are some new followers out there, I thought I’d touch upon it again- I don’t think we can receive too many reminders/tips on how to stay more active in our day to day lives, even if you aren’t working a desk job!

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the “take the stairs!”, “park further away” and the “get up rather than calling”, tips, right? And rightfully so- as much as these may seem like nothing, every little bit does count when you add it up. Which I think is the biggest way that I stay active: I move as much as I possibly can…

I park on the ground level of our parking garage so that I have to walk to the front door and then up 2 flights of stairs to my office.

I use the bathroom downstairs so that I have to do the stairs down and up.

I drink a lot of water so that I a: have to get up to go to the bathroom frequently and b. have to get up and refill my water frequently.

I walk to people’s office’s instead of calling or emailing.

I do laps around the office, sometimes “pretending” I need supplies or something in the kitchen.

Rather than combining my water refill/bathroom/etc. into one trip, I break it up and do it separately

I’ll try and go for a walk- even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes.

These may not seem like much, but they really do require much more movement on my part than if I didn’t do them. And I’ll be the first to say- it’s so easy to NOT do these things. To take shortcuts to save time. To call people instead of walking to go see them. To get caught up in your work and realize you haven’t stood up in 2 hours.

Creating more movement in your day when you work a desk job requires you to be cognizant of your movement and to continuously think of ways you can move more. In fact, I started doing a lot of the above movement tips when I started wearing a FitBit because I was shocked to see how little I moved during an average day in the office and I’ve even noticed that I move less now that I don’t wear a step/movement tracker because I’m not as aware of how much or how little I’m moving.

Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with days where you decide to veg out on the couch rather than get movement in. In fact, I think it’s very good to have days like that once and a while, but in general, I think movement is always a good choice. Our bodies are meant to move and if we are lucky enough to be able to move them, we should. It doesn’t have to be intense (it shouldn’t always be intense), it doesn’t have to be long (it shouldn’t always be long) and it doesn’t have to be organized- a simple choice of walking to do errands, go out to eat, go to Church, etc. will help get you moving, accomplish a “to-do” and make you feel better. I feel so fortunate to be able to walk to Walgreens, the dry-cleaners, the grocery store, Church, my nail salon and some of our favorite restaurants so I try not to take advantage of that by driving to them when I know I can walk to them. In fact, as we start to house hunt, a requirement of mine is being able to walk to things (this is not something I had the luxury of doing when I was a kid because I lived in a very rural town, so I love being able to do it now!)).

To sum it up, yes, I work at an office for anywhere from 8-10 or 11 hours a day, but that doesn’t mean that I am completely sedentary all day. All it means is that I have to make extra effort to get some movement in. It’s nothing too hard or time consuming, but – and I hate to sound cliche- every little bit does count. Moving makes me feel good, so I make it a priority to do it in some way, shape or form as much as I can.

Questions for you: How do you get movement in during the day? Do you find it hard or do you work at a job where movement is part of it? Do you have any tips for fellow readers for getting more movement in?



6 thoughts on “How I Stay Active Working A “9-5” Desk Job

  1. Lisa D. says:

    I work as a 911 dispatcher overnight. I work a long week of 12 hour shifts (7pm-7am every night except Wednesday night off) then a short week (off every night and only work 4 hours Tuesday night and 12 hours Wednesday night). I also have a one hour commute each way. I’ve gained about 20lbs since going back to this schedule about 7 months ago. When I was working during the day, I was going to OrangeTheory classes in the evening and doing some weights at another gym on my own. When I went back to working nights (by choice), there are literally no OrangeTheory class times that I can go to, other than in my short week. I didn’t feel like paying what I was paying to only be able to to OTF every other week and ended my membership. So, I used excuse after excuse. We are also, literally, tethered to our desks at work with our headsets and can’t just freely get up and go to the bathroom when we want. There has to be a certain number of people answering the phones and working the radios at all times so we have to wait for someone to take our spot when we need to use the restroom – definitely hinders the water drinking.

    Finally, about 6 weeks ago, I decided enough was enough. I started using the treadmill desk at work when I can. I had forgotten we had it – it’s at the other end of the room from where I usually sit when I’m on the call-taking side of my job. I can’t really walk very fast and I have to stop when I’m doing a lot of typing, but it’s better than sitting. We are allowed several breaks during our shifts so I’m utilizing those better as well. I also have myself on a better sleeping schedule during my long week. I don’t really have time to get to the gym before I have to turn around and head back into work, but I have accumulated a stability ball, yoga mat, and a few weights at home and I use those daily. Between those things, and YouTube videos (yoga, dance, barre), I make sure I get in at least some activity every day before I go back into work.

    On my short work weeks, I go to the gym as much as possible and either do some cardio on the bike or arc trainer plus some weights.

    Between that and getting my eating on track, I’m down about 10lbs.

    I also tend to lose sight of the “everyday” if that makes sense. I’m constantly looking back and realizing 3 months, 6 months, 1 year…have passed and I could’ve been at my goal like 10 times over. So, I put a yearly calendar up on my wall and I mark an X over every day that I consciously moved – could be a gym workout, could be 10 minutes of abs on the floor while watching Netflix, any kind of activity that got me off my butt. It has helped me tremendously to visually watch the days pass by.

    Anyway – thanks for this post. It was perfect timing for me. Sorry my response turned into a mini blog post on your blog!! 🙂

  2. kellynotkatie says:

    I totally do the “pretend you need to go get something so it doesn’t look like you’re just walking laps around the office” thing! Lol. I try to take a 20 minute/1 mile walk every day at 3pm just to stay consistent. Thankfully, my building is connected to a few others via skywalks, so I can still get my full walk in without having to go outside in the heat/rain/cold!

    • Burpees to Bubbly says:

      Ha~ I’m glad I’m not the only one who does that! I love your daily 20 minute walk for consistency- that’s so important! and it’s especially great that you can do it even if it’s raining out.

Share your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s