Work hours make up more than half of the time we spend awake, and, for most of us, those hours are too often spent sitting at a desk. Throw stress, commute times, and busy schedules into the mix, and the time devoted to your job can have a lasting effect on your health – and your fitness goals for 2017!

For those of us trying to change our workplace health habits this year, the task can seem a bit daunting. That’s why we propose making health a part of your work routine instead of making it work around it.

With a little determination and a few small life changes, you can gain heaps of lasting health benefits from every single work day. It may seem a bit hard to figure out where to start, so we’ve done that part for you! Which of these workplace health hacks are you already trying?

1. Try walking – or running to work
Did you know the average person only walks about 5000 steps a day? It’s true! And even worse, most of those 5000 steps aren’t even completed at a healthy pace. To get your heart pumping, and to tap into the lasting benefits of cardiovascular exercise, try walking or running to work. You have to get to work anyway, and you’ll be amazed at how easily you can rack up 10,000 steps just by swapping your drive for a heart-friendly alternative. If your commute is too far, try getting out a few stops early and finishing the route on foot. Alternatively, you could opt for a gentle lunch hour jog.

Psst. Did you know there is a Racefully tribe for people who run and walk to work? Check it out on the app!

2. Stay hydrated
And, no, we don’t mean add more coffee to your morning. Keep a full water bottle on your desk for easy access. Not only will the extra hydration help you stay sharp all day, but the added bathroom breaks make you get up and walk around more often.

3. Try a standing desk
Speaking of getting up….for every hour you spend sitting at your desk, try getting up and walking around for 5 minutes. This is great for circulation and helps you get those steps in. Better yet, you could try out a standing desk! Most standing desks come with adjustable options, allowing you to switch up your day with standing and seated periods.

Bonus: You don’t have to spend a fortune on a standing desk either! This tutorial shows you how to make your own for $22!

4. Make a great friend or build a community
If you’ve been reading the Run Blog for a while, you might have noticed a trend: We think community is the key…to just about everything! Strong social bonds are like the gym for your mental and emotional health. Whether you’re leaning on a friend or laughing with them, community makes work happier and healthier. Plus, you might find a buddy or two to complete those lunch hour runs with!

5. Pack healthy snacks
‘Cake Day’ seems to have tightened its grip on office culture, and we’re already starting to see the impact on populations across the UK. For the record, we’re not saying you should strip your life of all its sweetness. Treat yourself to the occasional goody at work, but avoid filling boredom with unhealthy snacks and don’t feel pressured to join in every single birthday cake or ‘Beer Friday.’ Try packing healthy, energy-boosting morsels to power you through the day. Berries and grapes are one of our favourites. Not only are they packed with nutrients (delicious ones!), but the bite-sized fruits can be enjoyed in much the same way as crisps or chocolates. Bite after bite after bite.

Fun fact: While one chocolate can pack as many as 70 calories, the average grape is only about 2!

6. Look into your workplace wellness program
Many workplaces offer their employees cool wellness benefits, including discounts on gym members, lunchtime yoga classes or entry into running clubs or races. On a more holistic scale, some employers even dish out preventative care and wellbeing bonuses. Free massages and access to nutritionists are only a couple of our favourites.

7. Do a few exercises and stretches right at your desk
There are loads of simple exercises you can do right at your desk – so even if you’re stuck in meetings all day, you can stay on track with your fitness routine. Here are just a few to get you started.

Psst. Try out a yoga ball chair! Yes, as your main chair. Right at your desk. You’ll be working your core all day without even realizing it.

8. Rest up
This one may seem tricky, but make a real effort to let yourself get some hard-earned down time when you’re not at work. Turn off your cellphone, go to bed early, or treat yourself to a relaxing massage. Better yet, take that hard-earned holiday! Allowing yourself to recharge will not only add to your health routine, but improve your performance at work! Don’t believe us? There are lots of people writing about it.

Well, those are just our top eight tips for creating healthy habits at work, but there are tons of ways to get lasting benefits throughout your workday and beyond. Join us for our FREE 30-Day Fitness Challenge for daily tips, workouts, and inspiration from Racefully!