You know that if you’re active—you walk, ride your bike, and use the stairs instead of the elevator—it benefits your body and mind. But it also helps your workplace and your employer’s bottom line.

Employees who exercise before or during work get along better with co-workers and tend to be better at meeting project deadlines. “Employers who are ahead of the game in offering proper on-site [exercise] facilities actually get less from their employees on days that they don’t exercise,” says Jo Coulson of the University of Bristol.

Alexandria-based financial advice firm The Motley Fool employs a full-time “Fitness Fool” who encourages workers to stretch, twist, and move throughout the day. The company also offers exercise classes, yoga, and meditation.

“Nurses tell us we are the healthiest employees they have seen,” The Motley Fool Director of Office Culture Melissa Malinowski remarked at a Future of the Office Bisnow event. “You’re going to be more alert and work more efficiently if you’re healthy.”


But even if your employer doesn’t provide at-work exercise opportunities, it’s easy to add movement to your day:

  • Stand or walk while you talk on the phone.
  • Step over and speak directly to a co-worker instead of texting or sending an email.
  • If a work conversation will be extensive, suggest a walk and talk.
  • Stroll outside during your lunch break.
  • Use a standing desk. A good choice is the StandSteady. The company is run by a former Northern Virginia data analyst who designed her own desk when she could find none that could fit in a cubicle.
  • Don’t forget to use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.


Walking works so well for humans because it comes naturally. Quoting Enrique Peñalosa, the active living activist and former mayor of Bogota, Columbia:

God made us walking animals – pedestrians. As a fish needs to swim, a bird to fly, a deer to run, we need to walk, not in order to survive, but to be happy.

The previous is an excerpt from the just-released How To Be a Durable Human: Revive and Thrive in the Digital Age Through the Power of Self-Design by D.C.-based author and active living activist, Jenifer Joy Madden. Also see for practical tips on being more active, connecting more with nature, and better living in harmony with your technology.

Featured Image: Employees (including the author’s son) at retail design firm IDL Worldwide in Portland, Oregon.


About the Author:

Hooray For Human T crop

An author, digital journalist, and self-proclaimed “cheerleader for humanity,” Jenifer Joy Madden writes about health and well-being on news outlets ranging from TechRepublic to The Washington Post to The Children and Nature Network. Jenifer is on a commission that advises the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors about transportation matters. She is also the visionary, planner, and organizer of a new network of walking and cycling trails connecting places including Tysons, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, and Wolf Trap National Park.