5 Ways to Stay Active When You've Got an Office Job

This September, I started my first co-op, and while it’s definitely nice to have a bit more free time, it does mean that I sit on my ass for eight hours, five days a week. Even if you like your job and don’t have homework every night, work can still be draining, and if you don’t make time for some self-care in your day, you may end up feeling just as run down as you do in the middle of midterms. With my extensive month of experience, I decided to put together a list of some things that have helped me take care of my health, both mental and physical, in my new office environment.


1. Take your breaks (all of them)

For me, this was the first job where I was given two paid fifteens and, as strange as it sounds, I had no idea what to do with them. When you’re in co-op, it definitely feels like a steep learning curve, even for the small things. Make sure you take advantage of your lunch break and coffee breaks, and make sure you get up and move around and get some fresh air if you can. It really will make the day go by that much quicker and will make you feel more energized when you get back to your desk.


2. Try an active hobby

Now that you have weekends and evenings all to yourself, it’s important to make a plan to use your time wisely. While I definitely watch my fair share of Netflix, I found that if I plan activities for myself in my free time (especially active ones), I feel that much happier at the end of the week. In school, you might not have the time to join two soccer teams and take a dance class, so take advantage of that when you can! You don’t have to spend all of your free time at the gym—taking workout classes or joining sports teams can keep you active and social after you’re cooped up inside all day long.


3. BYOWB (Bring Your Own Water Bottle)

We all know that staying hydrated is important, so even though you’ve heard it 1000 times before, I’m going to mention it again here. The best decision I’ve made so far is to keep a water bottle in my desk at work so that I always know I have one with me. Pro tip: if you drink a lot of water, you’ll not only be super hydrated, but you’ll have to pee so often that you’ll get a lot of walking in, too.


4. Walk, walk, walk (and then walk some more)

Sitting all day is so bad for you … like, so bad. And chances are you’re sitting on your commute, all day at work, during your lunch break, and then at the dinner table and couch in the evening before you lie down and go to bed. When you put it that way, it’s really kind of scary. I take the bus to work, and I’ve tried getting on and off the bus a few stops away from the one closest to my destination. You can also try biking some or all of the way if that works for you. Try to get up and walk around every hour, even if it’s only for five minutes. Also, I’m lucky enough to have a standing desk at work, and if you do, too, I definitely recommend you use it!


5. If you can move around, do it

Need to ask a coworker a question? Walk to their desk. Waiting for the printer or microwave? Do a lap around the office. Unless you’re a gym grunter, try to do some leg lifts or stretches at your desk. Volunteer to do the coffee run, or at least get people a mug from the office kitchen. If you can find a reason to move around even a little bit every 30 to 60 minutes, your body will definitely thank you!


What are your tips and tricks to stay energized and active during your long work day? Let us know!