What are some ways to be more physically active in the workplace?

Try Stairway to Health, an interactive, web-based resource for employers and employees to encourage stair use rather than the elevators as one cost-effective means to incorporate healthy physical activity into daily work life. Visit www.healthcanada.ca/stairwaytohealth to climb virtual mountains and famous buildings, as well as obtain practical tools such as point of choice signage, fact sheets, design considerations for making stairways inviting and safe and program management tools. Keep active living messages top of mind by posting messages near the elevators reminding employees to opt for the stairs instead.

Other tips for active living in the workplace include:

  • Create a new morning routine. Start your day with 10 minutes of movement indoors or outdoors. Some stretching and a short walk first thing in the morning can be better than caffeine!
  • If you must drive to work, park a reasonable distance from your work site so you can fit in a short walk.
  • If you are able to leave your workstation from time to time during the day, plan regular intervals incorporating physical activity from a walk to the water fountain to stretching while you photocopy documents.
  • If you can’t leave your workstation, use official breaks to give your muscles some necessary stretching and relieve built-up tension.
  • Walk, jog, wheel or cycle during your lunch hour.
  • Have ‘walking meetings’ instead of sitting in the boardroom.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator wherever possible.
  • If your workplace offers sport activities or has a fitness or wellness program, sign up for an activity or try a class.
  • Organize an active social outing for your co-workers to enjoy and consider challenging other departments or companies to participate and match your numbers.
  • Use a pedometer to mark a set distance around your workplace, either indoors or out, and challenge your co-workers to completing a predetermined distance over several months (some offices have even used a map to track workers who are walking the equivalent of across Canada!).
  • Get off the bus two stops early and walk the rest of the way home.
  • Request shower and change rooms, along with secure bicycle parking to encourage employees to commute actively to and from work instead of driving.
  • If shower facilities and the like aren’t possible, investigate an arrangement for group discounts at a nearby fitness or recreation facility that does have them.

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