Put Some Movement Into Your Desk Job

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Todd Meier

Dilemma: Your employee population sits at desks for most of the workday. But you’ve read the recent articles that say movement throughout the workday is important for employees’ overall well-being. How can you help them counter the effects of hours of sitting?

The answer: Little movements add up. There are ways for you and your employees to incorporate movement into your day without changing into gym shorts every 30 minutes. The impact of doing so is astounding. Research shows that you don’t need to do vigorous exercise (e.g., jumping jacks) to get the benefits. Just walking around is enough.1

Simply standing up at random intervals during the day is not sufficient. What’s important is movement. It gets blood circulating through the muscles. And the best part? Movement is free!You might ask yourself, “Can I implement this in my workforce and not hinder productivity?” Here are some tips you can send directly to your workforce:

  • The small things add up. Walk to a printer or water fountain. Stand for a meeting. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park a bit further away from the building each day. Building in this movement is key.
  • Obtain a pedometer. Note the mileage you put in during a typical workday. I use mine and enjoy seeing those miles increase on days I walk at lunch. Take a few more trips up and down the stairs to turn an email exchange into a face-to-face discussion.
  • Set a reminder. Many of us may have good intentions but just need a little prompting. Download a desktop timer like the one from stretchclock.com. This is a free desktop downloadable virtual timer that you can set according to your preferred time intervals.
  • Record, record, record. This may seem like a lot of work, but it’s important to track how much you’re moving. If we don’t, we might never start.

You may be asking yourself, “Will this really help my employees?” Yes. Movement makes a difference. Each of those moments that are devoted to turning a static position into dynamic movement has a positive impact on a person’s health. It will tip the scale of longevity in the person’s favor and encourage a healthy and productive workforce.


1 Mayo Clinic. Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health. Available at: mayoclinic.com/health/walking/HQ01612. Accessed September 26, 2013.


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