Research shows that today, people move less at work than in decades past. It should come as no surprise that this relates to America’s obesity and chronic disease rates. Desk jobs and jobs with long commutes can add up to long hours of sedentary activity. And that can be very harmful to your health.

While most companies don’t encourage an aerobics routine in the middle of a meeting, you don’t need to go extremes to make your job more physically active.

Even small changes like standing instead of sitting whenever possible, walking over to a co-worker’s desk to speak with him or her in person rather than via e-mail, and taking the stairs in place of an elevator add up.

If possible, break up your workday with a series of five-minute walks throughout the day. If you work in a large office space, a few laps around the place should do, or if needed, take a break and head outside for a lap or two around the block. These mini-exercise sessions not only boost your metabolism throughout the day, but the added circulation and blood flow they provide will also wake you up and help keep you mentally alert as well.

Likewise, make lunchtime and other breaks active. Do some window shopping. Bring your bike to work. Or try to organize walking time with co-workers! Moving together also reinforces accountability and motivation. You can also create a very healthy office culture.

If your company has an on-site gym, that makes things even easier. But even without such luxuries there are plenty of mini-exercise routines you can do right at your desk that involve stretching, lifting, or using your own body weight to build strength and burn calories.

Another way to add activity to a sedentary job is to learn to fidget. Believe it or not, some experts believe those naturally thin people who seem to eat all they want and never gain weight do so because if you watch them closely, they are always moving even when they are sitting down! Tapping their pencil, shifting from one side to another, and wiggling their toes may not look like much, but the small movements are just enough to burn another calorie or two a minute, and that can be significant over a standard 8-hour work day.

In short, try to think of exercise time as all the time, not just something you do for 30 minutes once a day. While you may not want to trade your current job for one that involves non-stop physical labor, it doesn’t have to mean that you can’t be active even if you have a sedentary job. It just requires a little creativity and conscious effort to make sure your day spent as a desk potato doesn’t end up foiling your medical weight loss goals.