10 Ways to Sit Less & Move More at Work

10 Ways to Sit Less & Move More at Work


Last Updated: 14/04/2024

Evidence suggests that, unless you are a wheelchair user, sitting down for extended periods of time can be damaging for your health, with research showing that those who spend long periods of time sitting down have higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and early death. Indeed, research has shown that sitting for more than eight hours without any physical activity is associated with a mortality risk comparable to that caused by obesity and smoking — hence why sitting has been coined as the new smoking by many experts. However, sitting at a desk or in front of a computer is unavoidable for many of us with desk jobs. 

As a result, it is recommended that you break up long periods of sitting time with movement. However, this can be easier said than done, in particular when you're at work. To help keep you active and leading a healthier lifestyle, here are our top tips for sitting less at work. 

1. Drink Lots of Water

Staying hydrated is good for you, but it can also create more toilet breaks, which can force you to be more active. Keep a water bottle at your desk and aim to drink the equivalent of at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day. 

We'd recommend using a smaller cup or bottle for your water, as you'll need to get up to refill it more often. 

2. Use a Standing Desk

Standing up has proven benefits for our health, including better posture, reduced pain, and less risk of heart disease and diabetes. Standing at work can be encouraged with the use of a standing desk, which allows you to switch between standing and sitting positions. Start by standing for short periods and increase the duration as you get used to the sensation. 

Pairing this with an under-desk treadmill or under-desk cycle can help you remain active while at your desk. Alternatively, the Gymba Balance Board allows you to 'walk' while working, by flexing the leg, ankle and feet muscles. 

3. Take Meetings Standing Up

How many meetings do you have in a week that could be taken when moving? Having meetings when standing up or walking can reduce the amount of time spent sitting down, but it also has other benefits. Research shows that standing up makes us more alert and engaged, and increases our meeting involvement.  On average, meetings last 34% longer when participants are sitting down than when they are standing up, meaning standing up can make your meetings more productive, but also much shorter. 

Standing for phone calls, or walking and talking, has similar benefits for your mental and physical wellness. 

4. Reconsider Internal Emails

Could you walk over to your colleagues and speak to them in person, rather than sending an email? 

Next time you go to press send on an email or a Slack/Teams message, considering delivering the information in person instead. 

5. Park Away From Your Office

Park as far away from the building as possible. Do the same if you go shopping on your lunch break or on your way home.

Don't drive? Walk to work if you can, or get off one stop earlier on the bus or train to increase the amount of time you spend standing up. If you take the train or tube, consider standing up for all or part of your tip. 

In essence, take the long route when you can! 

6. Stretching Exercises 

Stand up and stretch when you're at your desk. You can set a timer and take mini movement breaks to remind you to do it  -  Start with 30 seconds every 10 minutes, or 3 minutes every 30 minutes to stand up, stretch, and walk around.

Simple stretches like neck rolls, shoulder shrugs, and leg lifts can help reduce muscle tension, improve circulation, and keep you feeling refreshed.

7. Move When You Can

Use the stairs, instead of the lift, or go for a walk on your lunch break instead of sitting down at your desk to eat. Climbing stairs and walking are both great ways to increase your heart rate up, activate your muscles, and burn calories. That said, there is no one right type of movement; find a form of exercise that you like and that fits with your schedule, as you'll be more likely to stick to it. 

In short, take every chance you can to get up and move around in a way that works for you — you'll increase your steps fast, and feel better for it. 

Need additional motivation? Leave walking shoes, light weights, or exercise bands at the office to encourage you to use them. 

8. Wear a Fitness Tracker

Wearing a fitness tracker, such as an Apple watch or Fitbit, can help you monitor your activity levels and set goals for yourself. Aim for at least 10,000 steps per day and track your progress to stay motivated and accountable. If you see you're under 10,000, you might be more motivated to take a lunchtime walk or go the long route home.

9. Replace Your Office Chair

Well, don't get rid of it entirely! But consider other ways in which you can sit and stand at a desk. Working on an exercise ball or sit-stand stool can help to promote active sitting, which is where your body keeps moving while you sit. 

How does it work? When sitting on an exercise ball or a sit-stand stool, your body isn't supported like it would be on a traditional chair. This lack of support forces your core muscles to engage to help you maintain balance. Active sitting can also improve your posture, increase your blood circulation and prevent the other risks associated with sitting for long periods of time. 

10. Schedule Breaks

Sitting down for long periods of time is often an unconscious act; we get so distracted and absorbed in our work that it can be easy to forget to move. Set an alarm to remind yourself to get up at least once an hour to drink water, stretch, walk, or engage your muscles. 


Incorporating movement into your daily routine doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. Whether it's opting for the stairs over the lift or taking a brisk walk during your lunch break, every step counts. The key is to find activities that align with your interests and schedule to ensure long-term commitment to a healthier, more active lifestyle. 

Looking for a standing desk for your home, office or workspace? Check out our full collection of standing desks and accessories. Our desks come with a price guarantee, next day delivery, a comprehensive warranty and call-out support.

Feel free to get in contact with our expert team with any queries - they'll be happy to help. 

How Standing Desks Impacts Work Health

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