Here’s the deal: we all know you’re not getting paid simply to be at work. You’re getting paid to work. And sometimes, meeting deadlines can mean staying glued to your desk and working into the late hours of the night. It’s probably no surprise that sitting all day isn’t great for your health. But did you know that incorporating a morning exercise routine (a go-to solution for many) might not actually reverse the ill-effects of such a sedentary lifestyle? Instead, reducing the amount of time you sit at work by taking walks at work can actually improve your health and increase your productivity.
Researchers at King’s College London have released findings in the journal Health Psychology Review that show that increasing physical activity is less effective at keeping you fit and healthy than simply reducing the amount of time you sit at work. Other studies have linked prolonged sitting to a higher risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, whether the person in question exercises regularly or not. Consider this in tandem with another study by the National Institute on Aging that reports routine moderate walking can increase brain connectivity, and it only seems like a natural solution to incorporate walking into your everyday work routine.
How to Fit Short Walking Breaks into Your Day
Wondering how to incorporate more walking into your work routine without drawing concern from your boss? Here are five easy ways to fit in short walk breaks without looking lazy:
- Take a brisk stroll around the building: Grabbing some air outside and getting a change of scenery will do wonders for your motivation while keeping you near the office for a quick return.
- Take the long way to the bathroom and back: If there’s only one way to get to the bathroom, make a pit stop in the break room or the supply closet and then head to the bathroom from there.
- Got stairs? Use them and take a bathroom break on another floor.
- Leave a second water bottle, your lunch, or an afternoon snack in your car and make a trip out to the parking lot later to retrieve it.
- Take your lunch to go: Whether you order out or pack your lunch, take it with you and eat it on the move. Use the time you save to take a stroll down the block.
So, while it may be tempting to stay put when you have a long list of things to get done, the next time you need a break, start to zone out, or feel the temptation to check Facebook, take a nice five minute stroll instead. It’s easy, requires no equipment or distraction to your coworkers, and you’ll actually be helping your health while improving your brain function and subsequently your productivity. Multitasking at it’s finest!