Keeping active at work

I think we all know by now that being active during the day is better for us than being sedentary for most, and then doing an hour of exercise at some point. But that is easier said than done.

I was contacted by Simplyhealth to see if I could come up with some tips for staying active at work- they have written their own piece about it here. As a teacher I tend to be fairly active anyway- I use my Garmin vivofit to see and my activity peaks between 8-9am (setting up the classroom), 12-1pm (tidying away from the morning/ getting ready for the afternoon) and 4-5pm (putting things away, getting things ready for the next day), and of course once the children are in I might sit for a bit, but am generally standing or walking around. When I am out of class I tend to be sat at a computer planning and catching up on paperwork, and that is what I need to be aware of. My tips are pretty specific to teachers / teaching assistants I am afraid!

Don’t sit when you can stand

This has been mentioned a lot recently, but it is so important to stand when you can. I have tried to make sure I do this more now. Sometimes I do have to sit (if I am working with a group at a table, reading a story or working at a computer in the workroom), but other times I can easily stand, so I try to make sure that I do. I am lucky that the teacher computer in my classroom is on a cupboard, so when I am checking emails or setting up things for lessons, I have to stand at it.

Don’t stand when you can walk

Teachers all have to take their turn on the playground, and it is easy to end up standing in the same place for the whole of play/lunch time. But walking laps of the playground means you can see more of the playground, will probably interact with more children, and you will get your body moving more.

Join in!

If you are doing a PE lesson, don’t just direct from the side- join in with the activities (obviously, you need to make sure you can see the class/ keep them safe/ not get so out of breath that you can’t give instructions etc.)- even if you are joining in with the warm up it is better than nothing. If you are singing “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”, then do the actions along with the children.

Take the stairs

My school is all on one floor, but I sometimes go on courses at a training centre that has an upper floor. There is a lift, but there are also stairs, and honesty every time I go there I am shocked by the number of people waiting for the lift! Fair enough if you have a lot to carry, but it’s one flight of stairs!

Wear comfy shoes

If you are going to be walking or standing a lot, then wear shoes that support your feet properly. If your feet ache after an hour, you are not going to want to stand for the rest of the day.

Get some fresh air

Although teachers typically don’t like playground duty, in fact it is great to get some fresh air in the middle of the day- especially in the winter when you go to and from work in the dark. So volunteer if you are needed! Sometimes we even manage a short walk at lunch time, but usually we are too busy rushing about to have time for one, but on the odd occasion we manage it, I always feel much better afterwards.

So, there are a few of my tips. Hopefully you might be able to apply one or two to your job!

Do you stand or walk a lot in your job? If you have a desk job, how do you fit activity into your day? Does your place of work encourage you to be active?

Simplyhealth asked me to write this post, but all opinions are my own. I will receive a gift in exchange for writing this post.

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11 thoughts on “Keeping active at work

  1. Great tips! It’s so easy to just accept a sedentary lifestyle. “Oh I don’t have time to be active”…but it doesn’t have to be a huge chunk of time all at once. Short walking breaks at work are easy to squeeze in. Just getting up and moving. Walking to and from places rather than driving. It can be done. And like you, my Vivofit is a great reminder all day long!

  2. I often work through my lunch break which is my downfall. I think a lot of us teachers end up still sat at our desks marking or planning whilst the kids are outside. I make a point of circulating my classroom much more now than I ever did though and tend to easily hit 5000 steps during my teaching hours without really trying now.
    Unfortunately I don’t think my school really does a lot to encourage teachers to be active. I would love to join a sports team or something for staff but all my school appears to have is a staff football team and that doesn’t really appeal to me.

    • Yeah, when you are working an 80 hour week, doing stuff in your lunch break to reduce evening working makes sense. But then keeping healthy is important too. One of our teachers did Zumba sessions for a while, but that is really not my thing!

  3. My job is pretty active as it is, managing a yoga/cycling studio. I can take unlimited classes as can the other staff. Great tips for those with a sedentary office-based environment.

  4. I’ve recently got a fitbit and a standing desk at work, although I usually just use it for half the day. I love my fitbit and it’s made me notice just how sedentary my job is! I try to get out for a walk at lunch and also take the longer way to the staff room and bathroom. I find I have no trouble hitting my step target on days when I run, but some days I really struggle and found myself marching up and down the stairs last Friday night just to hit my goal haha.

    I’m very lucky in my work too as we have staff spin classes (I work for a local council so we have some gym facilities) that I’ve been going to the last fortnight. I’ve never tried spin before but it’s a great way for me to try it out and I’m enjoying it so far.

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