How to remain active when sitting 2000 hours a year at your desk job

5 Tips for Keeping You Active at Your Desk Job by Daniel Sedran, PT Resident

Individuals who work a 40-hour work week spend approximately 2000 hours per year at work. For those who have desk jobs, most of that time is spent sitting. Even for people who are active outside of those hours, it is important to break up that time with regular physical activity. Here are 4 great ways to incorporate physical activity into your day.

  1. Take the stairs if you are able to: A great habit to form in order to help you get those few extra steps in on your way to your destination includes avoiding the escalator on your way to the subway or getting off of the elevator 1 floor before yours.
  2. Replace your desk chair with an exercise ball: Slouching forward in our chairs for long periods of time can cause muscles in your neck and shoulders to get tight and weak. By opting for an exercise ball, you are encouraged to sit in a more upright posture and engage your core. BUT because the surface is unstable, it can be a challenge to your balance and increase the risk of falling. Before attempting this, your Physiotherapist can be a great resource to assess your balance and make sure that if you are going to try making this change, you do so in the safest way possible.
  1. Walking on breaks: It can be very tempting to enjoy lunch in the break room, or to get your food/coffee from the closest café, but breaks and lunch are a good time to go for a walk and change scenery. The few extra minutes of walking can be a great chance to chat with co-workers outside of the office or explore nearby areas all while getting in a few minutes of fresh air and activity away from your desk.
  1. Stretching at your desk: If you don’t have time to take a long walk during the day, there are plenty of stretches and exercises that can be done in the comfort of your own chair. Take a quick break every hour to stretch and move around. This will help take you out of those poor postures we all find ourselves in and make you aware of how you are sitting. Your Physiotherapist can help work with you to generate new ideas for stretching and finding small but significant ways to keep you active.
  1. Consider getting an adjustable standing desk: These desks have become more popular and are designed to help us do our computer work while standing. You can easily adjust the desk to different positions to allow you to stand or sit while you work.


  • Sharon Gabison

    Registered Physiotherapist BSc, BScPT, MSc, PhD: A graduate of the University of Toronto in Human Biology, Sharon completed her Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto. She went on to pursue further graduate work, completing her Master of Science from the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute and a PhD from the Institute of Medical Science both from the University of Toronto. Her interest in Physiotherapy originated while pursuing her first undergraduate degree while struggling with postural challenges and seeking physiotherapy treatment. Her interest in medicine, working with people, and developing and adhering to therapeutic plans inspired her to pursue a career in Physiotherapy. Her interest in research, orthopaedics, neurology, therapeutic agents and pressure injuries (bed sores) lead her to pursue graduate work. Sharon emphasizes a holistic approach to rehabilitation. Her experience of raising a son with a disability has continued to inform her career that has spanned over 25 years. She is able to appreciate the rehabilitation process not only from the professional perspective, but from the client perspective. Her extensive knowledge of biomechanics, orthopaedics, exercise prescription, electrophysical agents with a strong background in research enables her to provide evidence based treatment when designing and implementing rehabilitation plans. With a special interest in patient and family engagement through her volunteer work, Sharon is able to ensure that treatment that is provided takes into consideration the unique challenges that individuals may experience when adhering to treatment recommendations in their busy lives.

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