How to be more active when working in an office every day 9-5

working in office

Recent research on more than one million adults found that sitting for at least eight hours a day could increase the risk of premature death by up to 60 per cent. Shocking, right? If you work 9 to 5 and you spend most of your day sitting down behind your desk you should be all ears now. Do you make an effort to be active every day in order to stay healthy? Or maybe you just don’t have time? I totally understand, but there are ways of being more active also when you don’t have time. Just take a look at my tips below:

1. Include exercise on your way to work

I cycle to work pretty much every day. For tips on this take a look at this article and this one. Is your office less than 5 miles away from your home? Why not give cycling a go? If this is not an option, can you spend some time walking to your office? Why not get off the bus a stop earlier or park your car further away from your office? Exercising in the morning will leave you feeling energised and you will also be more productive once you get to work.

2. Have a 5-minute break every hour

Set a reminder if you think this is something that you can easily forget. Get up, walk to the kitchen and make yourself some tea. If you don’t fancy tea walk to one of your colleagues to discuss things face-to-face instead of emailing each other. If you cannot leave your desk for whatever reason, can you stand up instead of sitting down? You can do this while organising your notes or brainstorming ideas. Standing up is much better than sitting down so remember to do this regularly if you can!

3. Do some chair exercises

Sometimes we can all be extremely busy and it’s impossible to fit regular breaks during our normal working hours. In that case, try and do some chair exercises. You won’t believe what exercises you could do on your chair or with your chair! See YouTube for some ideas.

Ok, I understand this won’t be for everybody but do try and find an exercise which won’t attract too much attention (if this is what you are worried about). This won’t be a problem for those who work in a small office and everybody is pretty relaxed about things like that.
You could also get yourself a bike pedal exerciser for under the desk and you can exercise without leaving the chair and while you are doing your work.

4. Do some office yoga

Office yoga is another way of being more active when you are working 9-5. Furniture at Work have created a great infographic which shows some of the moves you could do. To see the infographic in full just click on the picture below.

office yoga

5. Make use of your lunch break

Do you normally have 1 hour for your lunch? I do and I normally go for a short, brisk walk. I aim for a 20-minute walk every day but sometimes I can only do 10 minutes. Whatever you can manage in your lunch hour is great. It’s better than sitting down for an hour. So just get out there and walk! It’s such a great way of clearing your mind as well.

6. Use the gym

Some people are lucky to have the gym at work. If you are one of them you’d be crazy not to use it. Lunch hour is a good time for a quick exercise routine. If your gym is just next to your work you should also make use of it during your lunch!

So there you have it, six tips to help you be more active when you work 9-5. Do you have any tips to add?


  1. Some really good tips! I’m glad I don’t work in an office anymore! I found it so difficult staying awake without getting up every hour to stretch my legs 😛

    1. I am glad you liked the tips Nadia. It sounds like an office job is not for you or you just had a really boring job! 🙂 I never have issues staying awake as I tend to be pretty busy most of the time, but I do get tired and my brains sometimes don’t work that well anymore!

  2. Taking a break for 5 mins is something that is so easy to do but it’s what you fill it with that counts. 4 x 5 min breaks per day, filled with slow movements (so as not to get all sweaty in the office!). Air Squats, Lunges, Push Ups, Twists….any full body movements.

    Exercise to and from work is where there are some significant gains to be made. Use of stairs instead of elevators / escalators. Perhaps getting to the top of the stairs…..and then repeating again.

    Top tips, thanks for motivating others!

    1. Yes, squats or lunges and similar are great to do during a 5-minute break. I used to do squats during my lunch hour to strengthen muscles around my knees but now I don’t need to do it anymore. Definitely stairs instead of elevators! Always!

  3. I’ve read about office people who don’t sit down during meetings. Is this a good practice? Thoughts?

    1. Standing is definitely better than sitting down and if you can do it during the meeting that’s great! But I know it’s not always practical..