20 ways to be more active throughout the day

Jay Brewer Jay Brewer Former Professional Head of Clinical Wellbeing at Nuffield Health
Being active throughout the day is an important step in improving or maintaining your health. Here's 20 simple actions you can take at work, home and when travelling.

Sitting for long periods of time is one of the biggest health dangers today, you can find out some of the dangers in this article. But taking simple actions to remain active throughout the day can get the blood flowing and help to prevent many health issues in the short and long term. View the film below and find some further tips for staying active at work, home and when you're travelling.

At work

Many of us suffer from inactivity most when we're at work. We are busy, so we are reluctant to leave our desks. But regular breaks away from your desk can actually help to clear the mind and improve productivity, as well as improve your overall health. You can be more active at work by:

  • Standing or taking a break from your desk every 30 minutes
  • Taking standing breaks in long meetings
  • Using the stairs rather than the elevator
  • Standing during phone calls
  • Walking over to colleagues to discuss projects instead of emailing them
  • Walking to the water fountain regularly (this is good for rehydration too)
  • Moving your bin away from your desk
  • Eating your lunch away from your desk, preferably taking a walk outdoors
  • Standing at the back of the room during presentations.

At home

After a long day at work it can be tempting to put your feet up and camp out on the sofa for the evening. But this can actually make you feel more tired, and will add to the accumulative effects of inactivity throughout the day. That doesn't mean you can't relax at home if you want to be healthy, just make sure you move regularly by:

  • Getting yourself a drink or popping to the toilet during TV advert breaks
  • Swapping one TV show for exercise time
  • Doing household chores such as ironing whilst watching TV
  • Washing your car by hand rather than using the drive-through
  • Cooking your own dinner rather than having a microwave meal or takeaway.


The time we spend travelling also has an effect on your health, especially if you have a long commute. But there's some actions you can take to limit the effects while you're travelling, including:

  • Planning regular breaks during long car trips
  • Leaving your car at home and taking public transport
  • Walking up escalators and taking stairs rather than lifts
  • Getting off the bus or tube a stop early and walking the rest of the way
  • Parking your car in the space furthest from the entrance, or a few streets away
  • Standing on public transport and offering your seat to someone who may need it more.

Last updated Friday 7 December 2018

First published on Monday 10 October 2016