Staying Fit On the (Not so Active) Job: 4 Tips for Maintaining the Office Worker’s Fitness and Health

February 21, 2011 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

As mentioned in a previous Stay-Fit Bug article, there are many reasons why we don’t work out, and one of the most pernicious ones is getting a new job. So many of my friends (myself included) found that once they graduated from school to work in an office, or they left a more active job for your general desk gig, they gained several pounds after their workout routine deteriorated. Even if you’ve managed to salvage your post- or pre-workout routine after finding steady, office-based employment, that may not be enough. Here are a few ways to stay fit despite being confined to an office chair for most of your day.

#1 Eat a wholesome breakfast and take healthy snacks with you to avoid gut-expanding office goodies.

Every office has them, whether it’s huge bagels for breakfast, or sugary baked goods and greasy snacks for those interminable meetings.  While it’s great that your company is providing you with all these wonderful comfort foods, indulging too often can mean some bad news for your waistline. Avoid these temptations by eating a healthy, filling breakfast every morning and bring in your own healthy snacks like fruits whenever you need energy or something to distract you from everyone else’s munchies.

#2 Take a break every few hours for a walk around the block.

Every office worker needs a couple of breaks throughout the day. While some use break time to watch some stupid YouTube videos or smoke a cigarette, why not make your time-outs a little bit more productive? Taking a brisk walk around the block every two or three hours makes your office job not so sedentary and it does wonders for your energy levels.

#3 Implement a more active office commute

Getting some activity in before you even start you day on the job is a great way to walk into the office feeling energized. Many of us are not morning people, so waking up super early for a full workout may not be feasible. Instead, why not try making your commute more active? Even if you can’t walk all the way to work, ditch the car and explore public transportation options like the bus or rail, which forces you to walk a little bit to get to different stops or stations. Or, have your spouse or friend drive you to point on your work route in which can reasonably complete the walk. You’ll save a ton on gas this way, too!

#4 While working, mind your posture and be sure to get up and stretch every few minutes.

Even though working in an office doesn’t require much physical activity, when the day is done you’re still exhausted. This post-work exhaustion can compromise your workout plans. As such, you’ll want to stay as energized as possible throughout the day. One surefire workplace energy zapper is sitting in one spot for too long, engaging in the same repetitive movements. To combat this phenomenon, get up every few minutes for stretch. This is likewise helpful in getting your eyes off the computer screen, since eye strain is another energy-zapping culprit.  Also, make sure you are sitting straight in your chair, feet firmly planted on the ground, since poor posture can also make you feel inordinately tired at the end of the day.
As much as your office job kills you, it’s a necessary evil in paying those bills. As long as you are vigilant, you won’t have to experience the office version of the “freshman fifteen”. Good luck, and if you’re reading this in the office, get back to work!

This guest post is contributed by Kitty Holman, who writes on the topics of nursing colleges.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: [email protected].

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