Americans sit for an incredibly high average of 9.3 hours a day. Being inactive to that extent is proven to contribute to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
In fact, having a full-time desk job is actually cause people to weigh more and be unhealthier. The good news is that there are ways you can keep your nice job and stay fit at the same time.
Here are the top recommendations by personal trainers, nutritionists and medical professionals as well as productivity experts for staying in shape while at work.
1. Get a treadmill desk
One of the main problems with the desk job is sitting at a desk without moving all day. More and more people are now investing or getting their employer to invest in an alternative desk like a treadmill desk.
These are great, and you don’t need to worry about working out too much – they’re programmed to go slower than normal treadmills, so you’re at least moving around a bit.
If you’re going too fast, the risk is that you’ll sit later and not exercise as much overall the rest of the day, thinking you got your workout in at work.
2. Get an adjustable desk
It’s possible to get an ergonomic desk that can be raised or lowered to stand or sit.
That eliminates some of the sitting hours that are so bad for us, but they still allow you to sit down and relax when you want to.
The benefit of a standing desk, unlike a treadmill, is that you know at the end of the day that you didn’t do a workout so you’re more likely to go to the gym or a sport and give it your all.
When you’re standing at a desk, even if you think you’re still, you’re moving a lot more without realizing than if you were sitting down.
Standing desks have also been shown to increase concentration and productivity, because these little movements can actually help you focus on your work.
3. Organize group exercise
If you’re unable to change your desk situation or you’re not interested in those options, consider getting together with your colleagues and have a group exercise during your work hours.
This can be anything from a lunch break walk to participating in a daily challenge for burpees, pushups, or situps. With the help of certain apps, you can log your hourly pushups before lunch and see your colleagues completing them too.
It helps to do an activity when you’re know you’re in it together with other people. You can even have a little prize each week for whoever is the most consistent at completing the daily challenges.
4. Organize walking meetings
Instead of having meetings like usual in a boardroom where you sit for even longer, schedule a walking meeting around the building or property with your colleagues or whoever you were meeting.
Walking around the office while doing work is a great way to be active without even realizing it. If you have a phone call meeting, take it standing up or walking around the office. If you need to take notes, use a headset so you can keep your hands free and type on your phone.
This is also a beneficial method because it allows you to stay more alert and focused on the call, and your tone and pitch of voice actually project better on the phone.
5. Change it up often
The best thing you can do is to change up what you’re doing often during the day. Stand for a while, walk for a while, and sit, so you’re doing a lot of different movements.
You can also consider getting a stability ball to sit on while working instead of your chair. With the ball, you want to be careful to start slow in short increments; your core won’t be used to it and if you sit for too long on the ball you might feel some back pain.
Consider a rotation of standing for 30 minutes, sitting for 30, and so on and so forth. The movement between the two is what keeps your metabolism going and keeping you active.
We all have bad habits at work and we’re so used to our routine that even if we know something is bad for us it can be hard to change that behavior. Set alarms every 30 minutes to remind yourself to switch it up and move a bit, until it becomes a habit.
6. Watch your food and drink consumption
Consider packing your own lunch to save money and cut down on unnecessary calories at work. Instead of running to the cafeteria or a restaurant for lunch, save that for special times with colleagues.
This will allow you to cut down on your sodium, sugar, and fat intake. It also keeps your blood sugar levels more stable by avoiding the spikes and crashes of grabbing unhealthy snacks on the go.
If you don’t have a lot of time in the morning, consider preparing your lunches the night before, or Sunday night for the whole week ahead.
You also want to bring small, healthy snacks to work to avoid the vending machine. Consider things like apples, raw veggies, or dried fruits and nuts.
It’s normal to have cravings, especially in the afternoon, so keep some healthy snacks on hand and limit your intake. Drink a lot of water during the day and go refill your bottle often.
Not only will this keep you hydrated and alert but it’s a nice reason to get up and stretch your legs. Water is also excellent at curbing hunger and cravings and making you feel full.
Avoid sugary drinks that will just cause an energy crash later and give you unnecessary calories and sugar. By following these tips, you’ll be able to stay in better shape at work and not become too sedentary.
Try to keep your workouts to the morning so you’re not tempted to skip your exercise in the evening after a long day at work. Finally, it’s a good idea to discuss any major changes in your exercise or nutrition routine with your doctor.
Ashley Halsey, a professional writer with Gum Essays, is involved in lifestyle and nutrition projects in the country. She enjoys sharing her health and fitness tips with her readers which have helped her live a vibrant and exciting life with her two children.