Walking — Good for the Planet and Good for You — At Work

Most people spend a lot of time at work earning a living. With a little creativity, you can build walking into your day, which benefits you and the environment.

Already walk a lot at work? Skip this post and put your feet up. Those of you who sit a lot at work, read on. Many health experts recommend walking 10,000 steps a day as part of a healthy lifestyle. Work provides lots of opportunities.

10 Easy Ways to Rack Up Walking Steps at Work

  1. Walk to Work
  2. Walk to Mass Transit
  3. Park Far Away
  4. Take the Stairs
  5. Face to Face
  6. Take a Break
  7. Talk on the Phone
  8. Hold a Walking Meeting
  9. Show me the Money
  10. Walk and Work

Walk to Work

If you live within a mile or so of where you work, walking is a viable option. Since you don’t have to find a place to park and then walk, it may actually take less time than driving.

Walk to Mass Transit

Live too far away to walk to work but near a stop for a bus, carpool, subway, or train? You score steps for walking to the stop, then work, and back. Plus taking mass transit is way more environmentally-friendly than driving.

Park Far Away

Full Parking LotCan’t or won’t walk to work or mass transit? Then park as far away from the building entrance as possible. Large office or retail complexes with big parking lots provide an opportunity for a lot of steps. If you visit clients at their offices, skip visitor parking (if allowed) and park away from the building entrance. If you have a parking garage at your place of work, great, drive up to the top level and take the stairs.

Take the Stairs

We all know we should take the stairs but do we? Next time you have the option between an elevator or escalator and stairs, actually take the stairs.

Face to Face

Skip e-mail, texting, and the phone. Get up from your desk and walk to talk with a colleague. It’s a good way to get some walking in and make a personal connection. Visit the “back office” or warehouse. This could be a 1/4 mile or more each way. One of my friends was an operations manager of a distribution division which included a large warehouse. She wore a business suit and tennis shoes and walked many miles a day from the office to the warehouse and back. Just goes to show you can be professional and comfortable.

Take a Break

Businesswomen Walking in ParkThe reason they are called breaks is you are supposed to actually take a break from work. Taking a walk during a short break, even just around the office or plant, burns calories and add steps. Break the habit of eating lunch at your desk. Bring your lunch and walk to a park or buy your lunch and walk to a park. Walk to run errands, shop, go to the library. Taking breaks is good for your mental well-being too.

Talk on the Phone

Get a wireless headset or ear bud and walk around while talking on the phone. People who spend a lot of time on the phone or in conference calls could walk several miles while talking on the phone.

Hold a Walking Meeting

Business people often complain about going to too many meetings. Maybe if more meetings were held while walking, they would be more productive and shorter. Certainly, a walking meeting is more feasible with a small group. If you must attend a sit-down meeting, don’t forget to take the stairs when you have the opportunity.

Show Me the Money

Pedometer with Tape MeasureMore and more employers are realizing that promoting employee wellness is a win-win. For example, healthy employees may be more creative and productive, take fewer sick days, and have fewer injuries. Some companies offer cash incentives or prizes for regular check-ups, screenings, or for quitting smoking. Walking competitions enhance employee health and camaraderie.

Walk and Work

While researching walking at work I came across the “treadmill desk” which combines a treadmill and a desk. I was so intrigued by this concept, I decided to do more research and write a separate post about it.

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Author: Linda Poppenheimer

Linda researches and writes about environmental topics to share information and to spark conversation. Her mission is to live more lightly on Earth and to persuade everyone else to do the same.

One thought on “Walking — Good for the Planet and Good for You — At Work”

  1. These are some good ideas. I’m fortunate enough to be able to implement many of the points personally. However, overall, I think walking/exercising during work is one of my biggest possible areas for improvement.

    It strikes me that during “phases” of my work I’m glued to a computer (for weeks to months on end) if I made a point to not ever do a “single person” response to e-mail, and instead called, and used the “wireless” land-line phone handset I already have, and walked during the call… I’d get several benefits:

    1. Not buying more stuff (see earlier posts from the Unlikely Environmentalist) as in blue-tooth head-sets/ear-buds.
    2. Promote a more personal and friendly “relationship” with the people I so often e-mail to “individually”.
    3. get my a_s up out of the chair, even if for just a few moments, several times a day.
    4. And likely resolve the issue without several “Re.” subsequent e-mails, or communicate the information more accurately via actual “dialog”.

    This doesn’t work if “truly” several people need to be in the loop. Getting more than two people on the phone together at one time is far more difficult and untimely. (But then I believe that “cc” and “respond to all” is WAY overused.)

    The old “land-line” wireless handsets have great range compared to blue-tooth, and most have a jack for a wired headset so you can be “hands free” with the portable phone clipped on your belt, waistband or pocket.

    While unfortunately these types of wireless phones are not very common in business PBX phone systems, they are very common in residential phones. However for me, I think this might just work?

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