In celebration of National Fitness Day (22nd of September), we thought we would share our tips on how to stay fit and healthy whilst working in an office. It’s hard to stay fit when you sit all day. It’s not just your fitness that’s at stake either. All that sitting is slowly hurting your overall health. Lack of physical activity is linked to health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and even breast or colon cancer. Unfortunately, desk jobs are becoming more common in our modern life. And we need those jobs to take care of our basic necessities. So, how can you balance your desk job with your health and fitness? It takes some work, but it’s possible. Try these ideas.
Take mini breaks
Just because you work at a desk job doesn’t mean you are glued to your desk all day. Get up at least once an hour to walk around. Go to the bathroom. Get a drink. Chat with a coworker about an upcoming project (just make sure you aren’t sitting).
Take advantage of lunch breaks
It’s tempting to sit and relax on your lunch break. But, by lunch, your body can benefit from a short walk. You don’t even need to go far for it to be effective. Invite others and make it a daily routine.
Stretch or move at your desk
You need a quick break more often than every hour. Take 30 seconds to stretch. Touch your toes, do some quick jumping jacks, or even sit ups 9no-one is going to judge you). It doesn’t take much to get your blood pumping. Get an under-desk elliptical to help get your blood pumping during an easy project. Whatever you can do to move while in place will help your body stay active and healthy. And on that note…
We’ve probably all heard the term ‘tech neck’ by now; the physical stress caused to the neck and upper shoulders by peering into a device. You’re probably doing that right now, huh? Yep, us too. Having bad posture when sitting at a computer is something nearly all of us are guilty of; it’s a short-term relief provider from the aches and pains accrued throughout a day of sitting and typing. Ultimately though, it can lead to long-lasting damage, causing issues with sleep and exercise which can have a more all encompassing, negative effect on your health.
When sitting at your desk, imagine there’s a string attached to the top of your head that’s pulling you up, like a puppet, and allow your spine to follow its natural curvature accordingly. Avoid the urge to seek momentary comfort in a slouch, and really sit back in your chair, at the bottom, rather than perching on the edge of it. Don’t be afraid to ask your employers for an ergonomic chair or stand up desk to really encourage both better posture and a little additional activity.
Rethink your commute
The daily commute, particularly in the capital, just seems to eat up so much time which could otherwise be spent keeping fit and healthy. But if you reframe how you think about that commute, it can actually present a great fitness opportunity.
For commuters who are lucky enough to be within walking, running or cycling distance of the office, for heaven’s sake, abandon the car, bus or train and make the most of it! If you don’t want to take this option every day, even just a return journey a few times a week which raises the heart rate could help boost your fitness levels and keep those threats from a sedentary lifestyle at bay. And if you aren’t close enough for this to be feasible, try getting off a couple of stops earlier than normal and walking the remaining distance to work.
Keep stress levels at a healthy level
Because a healthy mind equals a healthy body and vice versa…it’s all inextricably linked, right? It’s vital, then, that you keep on top of that workplace stress. With over half a million workers in the UK last year saying they suffered from stress, depression or anxiety, it’s something of a national epidemic. Having the tools to confront that feeling of being under pressure head on and methodically will help you keep holistically, wholly healthy, we think. As such, we’ve written these tips about ways to beat workplace stress; check it out!
Skip the elevator
It’s easy to let the elevator become part of your daily routine. If you find yourself using it too often, try taking the stairs regularly instead. Also, try parking farther away from the building so you are forced to walk across the parking lot. Little decisions can add up to more physical activity.
Coffee anyone? It’s a question which soundtracks the working week in every office across the country. It’s no wonder you can spell coffee from the word office. Well, nearly. And while there are often reports concerning the subtle health benefits of the good stuff, it’s not wise to treat it (or the nation’s other favourite drink, tea) as a substitute for water.
Indeed, experts recommend that you should be aiming to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to avoid dehydration, boost energy levels and even keep your skin looking radiant and glowing. Avoid quenching your thirst with sweet stuff, even fruit juice, as these don’t actually hydrate you efficiently and can cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
And on the topic of what you’re putting in your body…FOOD
1. Eat a healthy and filling breakfast
This is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. A wholesome breakfast can provide you with the energy you need to get through the first half of the day and will keep you fuller longer. This will help curb your desire for convenient and often unhealthy pre-lunch snacking.
2. Cut out sugary snacks
Yes, they can be tasty, but unhealthy snacks don’t satisfy true hunger and are digested quickly, leading to a roller coaster of sugar highs and lows. Instead of visiting the vending machine, bring healthy snacks from home, such as baby carrots, cheese sticks, nuts, hummus, cucumber slices, whole or sliced fresh fruit, small amounts of dried fruit, or savory crackers. If you really can’t survive a sleepy afternoon in the office, a bit of dark chocolate won’t hurt. BUT remember, everything in moderation, so have a slice of Margaret’s bday cake as long as it’s not every day!
3. Bring your own healthy lunch
Restaurant meals often include large portions and high-calorie choices. You can eat healthier and spend much less money if you prepare your own lunch.