Fight Workplace Obesity Three Minutes at a Time

Apr 27, 2018

Today, an estimated one in three people are obese in the United States, with the workplace being noted as a contributing culprit.

According to Journal of PLoS,* nearly 80% of Americans have sedentary or light activity professions (ie sitting all day at a desk) burning 120-140 calories less than laboring occupations. Pair this with an over consumption in calories and couch-potato lifestyle and you have a recipe for weight gain.

How can we combat this? Ergonomic specialists recommend for every 30 minutes of sitting, two minutes of activity should follow. This simple three minute circuit will help combat sedentary behaviors and will not only promote blood flow, but an increase in energy as well. Examples of the exercises are in this video, with a description of the movement below.

  1. 10 Backwards Lunges: To begin, stand tall with your hands at your hips or in front of your torso, which is the more challenging of the two positions. Take a large and controlled step backward with your left foot. Lower your hips so that your right thigh (front leg) becomes parallel to the floor with your right knee positioned directly over your ankle. Return to starting position and alternate legs.
  2. 10 High Knees: Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Face forward and open your chest. Bring your knees up to waist level and then slowly land on the balls of your feet.
  3. 10 Bodyweight Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. You can place your hands behind your head. Begin the movement by flexing your knees and hips, sitting back with your hips. Continue down to full depth if you are able, and quickly reverse the motion until you return to the starting position.
  4. 10 Desk Pushup: Stand a yard or more away from your desk, with your feet together. Place your palms on the edge of the desk a shoulder's width apart. Lower your chest to the edge of the desk, and push back up. Remember to exhale on the way up.
  5. One Minute Wall Sit: Stand with your back pressing against a wall. Slide downward into a squat position by moving your feet forward until your knees make a 90-degree angle and your hamstrings are parallel to the floor. Hold this position as long as you can. Add a stack of books or weight on you lap to increase the challenge.

Repeat circuit as often as needed throughout the day. Or, consider taking a two minute walk around your area, or even standing and stretching for two minutes. Again, some kind of movement for two minutes every 30 minutes while working can help combat sedentary behaviors.

Kierston Mills, CPT, works at Campbell County Health Wellness as a Health Coach. Wellness works to reduce health risks and promote overall wellness among employee groups and individuals across the northeastern Wyoming region. At Wellness, you can receive daily community blood draws, lab tests, and health and wellness screenings in Gillette, Wyoming from 6-11 am Monday-Friday. To learn more about Wellness, please visit or call 307.688.8051.

Campbell County Health Rehabilitation Services offers one-on-one ergonomic evaluations are available for businesses and individuals for $300 per assessment. This includes a physical assessment on site, as well as a written report. For more information, call 307.688.8000 to speak with Brenda Robertson. Learn more at

* Source: May 26, 2011, New York Times article, Workplace Cited as a New Source of Rise in Obesity, by Tara Parker-Pope