Man sitting on exercise ball in the office

Working in an office setting can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, as the majority of office work involves sitting at a desk in front of a computer for hours at a time. Unfortunately, sitting down for most of the day can have a negative impact on a person’s overall health. A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and certain cancers. With some simple adjustments to your office equipment or daily routine, though, you can decrease your likelihood of developing these dangerous health conditions.

Standing Desk

One of the simplest ways to combat a sedentary lifestyle around the office is to trade in your regular desk for a standing desk. There are several different kinds of standing desks, so if you opt for this route, you have options to consider. Standing desks include stationary desks with increased height or desks that can smoothly adjust heights, allowing the user to sit and stand as needed. Using a standing desk decreases your risk for obesity and cancer—and can even improve your posture. Despite the many benefits of standing desks, they can be expensive and take a long time to install. For long-term comfort, you’ll want to make sure your computer monitor is positioned 15-30 inches from your eyes when you stand.

Exercise Desk

Like the standing desk, exercise desks are a simple and effective way to combat a sedentary lifestyle. Rather than simply having the user stand in place, exercise desks allow users to work out while they’re at their computers. Exercise desks can come in either a treadmill or bike form and range in how much they cost and how much space they require. Although the benefits are similar to those of standing desks, the downsides are also essentially the same. Make sure you take time to consider all your options before switching out your desk.

Exercise Ball

Ditch your chair for an exercise ball. This is another simple way to change up your lifestyle by switching around your office equipment. Using an exercise ball instead of an office chair can help you burn calories, tone your core muscles, and relieve back pain. Although using an exercise ball is not as physically intense as using a standing or exercise desk, it is still more physically demanding than the typical office equipment. The small change will have a lasting impact. An exercise ball is also less expensive and less time-consuming to set up in the office than standing or exercise desks.

Take a Walk

If changing office equipment isn’t an option or you want to boost your activity at work, try taking a walk during your lunch break. If you have an hour for lunch, walking for 30 minutes every day will have a lot of health benefits in the long run. Studies have shown that walking just half an hour each day can increase heart health, reduce the risk for developing diabetes and certain cancers, tone core muscles, and promote a healthy weight. Additionally, if you are able to take these walks outside, exposing yourself to sunlight has its own set of health benefits. Soaking up the sun can boost the immune system as well as improve mood and sleep.

Take Small Steps

In addition to these larger lifestyle changes you can make around the office, there are other, smaller adjustments that can combat a sedentary lifestyle. Try parking your car farther away from the office, forcing yourself to walk more. If you’re able, take the stairs instead of the elevator to burn those extra calories. Instead of sending a bunch of emails to your coworkers, when it’s appropriate, get up and walk over to their desks. If you tend to have lunch delivered to the office, try taking a walk to pick it up instead. Though these changes may seem small, they will benefit your health.

Create Office Workouts

Although these ideas may seem silly, they are an easy way to fit exercise into a busy professional lifestyle. Take every phone call standing up. Do leg lifts every time you send an email. Every hour, get up and walk a lap around the office. Get your officemates involved to boost morale and camaraderie in the workplace. If you have a meeting with a coworker, ask whether they would be willing to meet outside or even take a walk with you.


Sitting in front of a computer all day can have serious negative effects on your health. Sedentary lifestyles have been known to increase your risk for diabetes, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and even cancer. Although this seems frightening, there are many ways you can change your work habits or office equipment to help you lead a more active lifestyle and decrease your risks for these conditions. If you want to get new office equipment, consider a standing desk, exercise desk, or exercise ball. If you’re not able to change your workspace, or if you really want to lead an active lifestyle, try taking small steps or making office workouts to squeeze exercise into your day. By making these simple changes to your workspace or lifestyle, you can easily decrease your risk for serious, life-threatening illnesses.

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