How to Incorporate Movement into Your Work (or School) Day

By April 12, 2017Motivation, Move

Time to break that Netflix binge, get up, and move!

While I’m a college student, I currently work a full-time job through my school’s experiential education program. I’m so grateful for this opportunity, in part because it’s led me to realize how passionate I am about workplace wellness. 

My work in the marketing department involves a lot of screen-time, where I sit. On my butt. At my desk. For 8 hours. I take lunch breaks, where I also sit. On my behind. In the cafe. Finally, I am cooped up in traffic for two hours each day (hello, California freeways!!). Does this sound similar to something you experience, too? 

It can be so easy to get in the cycle of: wake up, walk to class, sit in classes, walk to the library, sit in the library, walk to the gym, workout, go home, sit at the table for dinner, sit in bed and watch Netflix, go to sleep, repeat. I totally get it. I’ve been there. 

Even if we do workout for an hour each day, a key component to staying healthy and energized is to move as much as possible throughout the day. The New York Times reported a study which found that taking frequent, brief walking breaks throughout the day are “more effective at improving well-being than a single, longer walk before work”. 

In addition, people “who sit for more than eight or nine hours daily, which for many of us describes a typical workday, also are at heightened risk for diabetes, depression and obesity compared with people who move more often”. 

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Recently, there was one week where I got so fed up with all of this sitting I was doing that I started incorporating more walking, moving, and shaking into my week days.

I’ll be honest here — that week has completely transformed my entire workplace experience. It was this week that I began to feel tremendously more productive creative, rejuvenated, and happier at work. My efficiency increased, I began to think of more creative ideas within the projects I was working on, and my general contentment while at the office (speaking with colleagues, in meetings, handling fire-drills) skyrocketed. I even have started to trade my old snack-mindlessly-on-dried-apricots-even-though-not-hungry habit into a let’s-go-on-a-short-walk habit. This has been a win-win situation all around for me, and I know it will be for you, too. 

Because of this, I’ve become all-too passionate about integrating a bit of movement each day while at work, and I’m pumped to share what I have learned with you.** Let’s get MOVING, friend!! It’s so worth it. 

1.) Take a drink of water every 10-15 minutes.

Not only will you stay hydrated and maintain energy, but you’ll have to use the restroom more. This is one of the easiest ways to integrate more movement into your workday because, I mean, when you’ve gotta go, there’s no holding it for too long. 

2.) On that note, use a restroom that is far(ish) away from you.

For example, I work on third floor of a pretty large building, and I always opt for the bathroom that’s on the first floor. This enables me to get some stair-climbing in every hour or so. 

3.) Take walking meetings. 

If you can have a meeting with your team while getting some steps and fresh air, you’re set. Walking meetings and breaks enable you to stretch, get you to not look at a computer screen for a little while, and they are intellectually stimulating.

Side note: I know that some people like to take notes during meetings, which is why it’s helpful to be sitting at a desk for them. If you are open to a new format of note-taking, and really do want to have the meeting outside as opposed to in a boardroom, try audio recording the conversation, or writing notes on your phone. 

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4.) Walk somewhere for lunch as opposed to just eating at your desk.

If you don’t buy lunch at work, you can always walk with a colleague to an outdoor area or lunch space and eat there. If you can take an hour for lunch, I recommend eating for 30 minutes, and then going for a 30 minute walk! 

5.) Schedule walking breaks into your calendar. 

Every day at 2:30PM, a calendar notification goes off from my work email, reminding me to go for a 15-20 minute walking break. I look forward to this break so much — it’s short enough that I can still complete all my work in the afternoon, but it’s long enough that, when I arrive back at my desk, I feel refreshed, happy AF, and ready to tackle projects. 

**And no, I’m not talking about “movement” here as in ultra high-intensity strength training workouts…where you and I will sweat our literal faces off and need to take a shower. I’m all about HIIT, but I’m equally as adamant about not working out with makeup on. Eww. Save that for after work/school. Simply get up and get the blood flowing. It makes all the difference.

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Author Hannah Liistro

Hannah is a third-year at Northeastern University in Boston. A yogi, chocolate & coffee lover, and grocery store aficionado, she writes recipes, college advice, and skincare reviews on (@wholesomelyhannah on Insta).

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