7 Ways to Stay Fit At Work Without Exercising

Exercising is hard.

It is especially difficult to find the right motivation when is cold and dark all the time. It's not so much the lifting/running/pushing part, but more so the scheduling part.

Finding time to fit in a gym visit, or even time for a jog can be very difficult for us, especially when we are juggling work, social life, and family responsibilities. And if you think having an onsite gym at work makes it easier, think again - quick summary: usually, they don't get used much.

The older we get, the more responsibilities seem to pile up. Our day seems to get shorter, and it just gets harder to fit things in. And that 'extra weight' seems to creep up on us, gaining ever so slightly year after year. In fact, an average annual weight gain of 2 pounds a year was reported in a study of the New England Journal of Medicine for adults over the age of 25 (it was 1 pound for adults under 25). Now, I'm not going to turn this into a post on the merits of staying fit, or the serious health risks of obesity (although I do talk about how an adjustable height desk burns 20% more calories here), this post will help by telling you the top 7 things you can do to stay fit without going to a gym.

1. Drink more water.

Not only is water a healthier alternative to many other drinks out there, but drinking water actually burns calories. In fact, drinking 2 litres of water a day can actually burn an extra 100 calories. It also keeps you hydrated, which helps digestion and cellular function.

2. Bike or Walk to work.

It's time to find that bike and dust it off or at least get some comfortable shoes you can walk in. Even though only some of us can bike or walk to work, most of us can either bike or walk to the train/bus station, or at the very least, we can park the car a little further away and get a brisk early morning walk in. Extra bonus: save a few bucks (loonies) on gas/parking/transit.

3. Sit-Stand TV.

If you're watching TV for an hour or two a night, like many people, you don't have to stop. I mean, it would be great if you did, but let's make that a 3-month target. Instead, try some active watching. Just like a sit-stand desk activates your muscles, you can do some sit stand TV. Try going from sitting to standing 10 times every time there is a commercial. Or, for you, Netflix or Internet streamers out there, 10 times for each time you pause or switch shows.

4. Walk and Talk.

Why not take that phone call while you are walking. Especially works well with boring conference calls. Whenever you can find a good time to walk a little you will be able to burn some extra calories than if you don't walk at all. Just try to find a good time when it is not extremelly cold so you don't get sick. Extra bonus: get some fresh air, see a few trees. 

5. Gamify your activity.

Getting a Fitbit, or use another smart pedometer device that will measure your steps, give you badges for steps earned....and tell all your friends. Yes, it sounds very simple (and juvenile), but that's how we humans work. Just like scientists and kindegarten teachers everywhere have found, a simple reward can be an amazing motivator. So can our competitive nature. And our ego. So telling all your 'friends' in your fitbit/wearable network that you did (or didn't) make your daily/weekly steps also works quite well to make you more active. Extra Bonus for Canadians: You can get a Canadian Fitbit band now (here's one on Amazon), just in time for Canada day!

6. Put down the twinkie.

Okay, so this wasn't supposed to be a diet post, and you'll still get a lot of improvements if you don't change your diet, but it is a significant component of your health so I would be remiss if I didn't mention something about it. A lot of us need to snack on something during the day. All I'm going to suggest is that you eat some healthy snacks (c'mon down veggies!) FIRST. Eat some celery, carrot sticks, broccoli, or whatever you want to try - eat that first, and if you still want another snack, then you can have it. You'll be surprised how easy it is to get used to some fresh healthy snacks though, and how filling they can be.


Of course, I saved the best for last. The easiest way to get fit, and stay fit, without traditional exercising is to use an adjustable height standing desk, of course. As I've talked about many times, you don't have to stand all day to get the positive benefits. As long as you break up your extended sitting periods you'll be getting health benefits. And there are a LOT of health benefits to a sit stand desk. As I've written about before, your muscles are activated every time you stand, your digestion improves, your breathing improves, your circulation improves, your metabolism increases (which also burns more calories). And even a laptop stand desk extender can be used if you can't use a full sized standing desk.

So, now you have NO EXCUSES. You CAN get fit. You CAN get healthy. I believe in you.