Many working professionals spend the whole day sitting down, staring at the computer screen. These circumstances are blatantly unhealthy for our minds and bodies. Sedentary jobs and lifestyles contribute considerably to accelerating obesity rates, as demonstrated by a University of Chicago study that pointed to sedentary careers as the source of 3.3 more Body Mass Index(BMI) points. But don’t worry, you can still rise to the challenge of your less-than-active job and avoid weight gain and here’s how:
Move Your Body!
Move around the office and stretch; especially take the opportunity to get up for a brief walk when you’re waiting for something to load on your computer.
Not only do these breaks help you to be more productive, but they can help to lower your resting blood pressure and reduce stress. You can even go for a walk outside, or schedule walking meetings with colleagues a la Steve Jobs. These mobile meetings keep the creative juices flowing and keep everyone involved from getting stiff. Lose excess calories at your desk by investing in a desk stepper. This mini stair stepper can help you burn up to 91 calories in just 20 minutes.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Start off walking, but you work up to running between floors. This is a little step, but the overall idea should be to compensate for your sedentary workday with other outlets for physical activity. Find time for active recreational activities with your family, sign up for after-work fitness classes, or invest in home exercise equipment.
Get a standing desk. Although not all employers can be coaxed into converting their employees’ workspaces into convertible sitting/standing desks with built-in hydraulics, you can jerry-rig your own standing desk. Not only is this somehow hip right now, it’s also the best way to avoid the negative health effects of excessive sitting on the job. For a look into the history of the standing desk and convincing arguments for switching to it, check out this article. Take a phone call while standing up as well instead of sitting down. Movement will help clear your mind and focus on the conversation.
Find new ways to encourage yourself to walk more around the office to keep fit and energized by walking to do tasks rather than right at your desk. Don’t place a trash can by your desk or if there is one already there, get up and use a trash can across the office instead. Encourage open communication around the office in place of emails or chat screens for a couple of hours during the work week. Instead of staying at your desk to talk, get up and go to that person’s desk or meet in a mutual area to discuss the topic at hand.
This advice doesn’t just apply for those of us with sedentary work environments: avoid sugary beverages like soda. The sugar only gives you a spike of energy before you crash and comes in just too large of quantities for your body to convert it into anything else but belly fat.
Instead, drink lots of water. The water will help you to keep a clear and energized mind focused on your work, while allowing your body to stay in tune with when it’s actually hungry. Then, you won’t find yourself perusing the junk food in the vending machine at odd hours during the workday. If you’re sick of water and prefer a bit more variety, choose immune enhancing supplements like those from Well Wisdom as a healthy alternative.
Important tip: Don’t drink too much right before important meetings. You don’t want to rush out for the toilet in the middle of a critical decision.
Get Others on Board
Get your friends involved. Every weight loss attempt is ten times easier when you have the support of family and friends. Try some new activities together, like weekly volleyball games, to help each other stay active. Get in touch with Human Resources to see if you can get your company to fit the bill for get-fit or team-building challenges during work hours. Healthy employees save them money and can give you a new base of moral support for getting in shape.
Try not to feel overwhelmed by the obesity epidemic. You are capable of making wiser and healthier decisions despite your excruciatingly sedentary work environment. Incorporate these simple strategies into your workday incrementally or as they work for you in your context.