It is a sobering fact that 25 percent of the U.S. population is not active at all (CDC, 2010). Part of the problem is office jobs that require workers to be sitting in an office for eight to twelve hours a day. If you are one of these office workers, consider incorporating some physical activity into your day so that you don’t fall victim to the harmful affects of a sedentary lifestyle.

Below are some wonderful suggestions from Dominique Wakefield, a health and fitness expert and ACE Certified Personal Trainer, in an article on, on how to be more active during your workday:

1. Create a standing or moving workstation.

Examples: adjustable standing desk addition, movable standing laptop desk, treadmill desk, stationary bicycle desk

Free option: Build a standing desk addition by putting a box and/or some books stacked on top of each other on your desk to place your laptop or desktop (for good posture, you need to stack them to an appropriate height).

2. Replace your regular office chair with a resistance ball.

Several sizes of inexpensive resistance balls are available. Be sure to choose one that is the right height in relation to your desk to promote good posture. Sitting on a resistance ball engages your core and may assist with improving posture. Begin by sitting on the ball for short periods of time throughout the day, gradually reducing the amount of time you spend sitting on a traditional office chair.

3. Phone time = walk time

Every time your phone rings, get up and walk around in your office space. This will assist you with building an associative positive habit.

4. Meeting time = standing time (or walking time)

Movement increases productivity, which may help convince your colleagues and supervisors to conduct meetings while standing or walking. If no one is excited about your suggestion, start the trend and stand or move during meetings.

5. The 30-minutes challenge

Set an alarm on your cell phone to alert you every 30 minutes. As soon as the alarm goes off, complete a two-minute physical activity challenge such as:

  • Walking in place, pulling the knees higher toward the belly button
  • Use your office chair to sit down and get up repeatedly for as long as you can during the two minutes

Here are some basic exercises that can be done in your office space (even for the above-mentioned 30-minutes challenge). Depending on your current fitness and ability level, the number of sets and reps for each will vary.

  • Office desk push-ups. Use one edge of your desk to complete push-ups (some may prefer to just do them on the floor)
  • Office chair triceps dips. Use a chair to perform triceps dips.
  • Office walking lunges. Use the entire office space to complete walking lunges (from one end to the other).
  • Office wall sits. Use a small wall space in your office, lean against it and squat down so that there is 90-degree angle about your knees (hold as long as you can).
  • Office standing calf raises. Perform standing calf raises, holding on to your office chair if balancing is initially challenging.


For a greater challenge, set aside 20 to 30 minutes of your lunch hour to complete a variety of exercises or to walk outside. If the 30-minute challenge is not an option for you, you can complete the exercises listed above during this lunchtime fitness session. To engage in more vigorous exercise, find a staircase that you can use to complete up-and-down challenges.

For more variety, enjoyment and greater challenge, consider building your own office mini-fitness center. Basic fitness equipment that is not very expensive could include:

  • Dumbbells
  • Jump rope
  • BOSU ball
  • Medicine ball
  • Resistance ball
  • Resistance bands

By Dominique Wakefield,

For more ideas on how to incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle, or general health questions, call Dr. Boman at 617-906-7958.