Let’s face it. The desk job you work at isn’t doing your midsection any favors. 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 coworkers and make a daily routine of it.
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. 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.
Encourage walking meetings
Meetings are the status quo of most office environments. Instead of buckling down for a long meeting, try suggesting that your group takes a walking meeting. Walk around the office or even the block while you hash out ideas for your next project.
Alternate between sitting and standing
Some office environments encourage standing with special desks that allow you to either sit or stand. If your desk doesn’t adjust, don’t be discouraged. Stand when you can. For example, make all phone calls while standing. Try sitting for 30 minutes and then standing for 30 minutes.
Skip the elevator
It’s easy to let the elevator become part of your daily routine. If you fi nd 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.
Utilize your time outside of work
Just because you work at a desk for eight hours a day doesn’t mean you have to go home and sit in front of the television for another eight hours. Find ways to work active time into your life outside of work. Take a group exercise class, hit the gym early in the morning or go for a walk with your family in the evening.
Even if you’re healthy, spending all day sitting isn’t good for your health. But, with some planning, you can incorporate more
movement into your daily life.
by Megan Calder, BC, NASM-CPT