Practical Ways to Keep Moving at Work

Continuing in the vein of healthy work habits:

Thus far my career has been in a desk job with the majority of that time working from home. During this period I’ve reached different spectrums of balance between dedication to the work and a healthy lifestyle. This includes good eating habits, exercise, getting enough sunlight, and preventing eye strain. One of the best ways I’ve found to help sustain this is to strive for habits that encourage taking short breaks throughout the day, so I don’t stay glued to my desk all the time.

Like with any goal I find the the best way to start building better habits is to establish the why before the how. Remaining healthy for me is prioritized by a few driving factors including

  • Desiring to be able to stay active with my kids as they get older
  • Keeping good mental healthy which physical health helps facilitate
  • Sustaining longevity in my career and other life commitments

I have done a variety of things over the years to help achieve this. For a period I had a 10,000 steps a day goal which I would track. I would walk on every call I had, take short breaks to walk, go for a walk at lunch, and walk with my family after dinner. Many days I would exceed my 10k goal—and sometimes go well over 25k steps. Another thing I did was try and get out and work other places more often which were within cycling distance. Places like a local park or coffee shop. That would get me out of the office for a bit and also served as great cardio. Both of these helped me reach some good physical goals but personally were not sustainable in my daily routine.

Now I make much smaller goals which “fall in” with my daily schedule with a bit more ease. A few habits I am trying to keep right now are

  • Standing during all meetings which I inevitably end up pacing during out of habit
    • I still go for walks on calls occasionally, but I’ve found that isn’t as productive for me as it use to be.
  • Drinking lots of water throughout the day
    • Other than staying hydrated which is good, this helps me on two fronts: 1) I have to take bio breaks more often—a great excuse to step away from the desk briefly, 2) every time my water bottle is empty I am reminded to go refill it—again a brief desk break.
  • Have small 1-2min breaks throughout the workday for a set of bodyweight exercises
    • Again a great excuse to step back from the desk briefly and also keep the Dad-bod at bay.

In terms of tracking these I am currently not keeping metrics on them outside the bodyweight exercises. For the exercise I am keeping it simple and just using Tally app to track manually. Also on the tech side of things, I like to use Breaktime to remind myself to take breaks on a schedule. One area I think I could improve on here is more regularly adjusting my desk between its sitting and standing position. There are days where I don’t have as many calls and I think some schedule here could help ensure I’m rotating between sitting and standing. This is easy to forget when I’m “head down” in my work.