If you work at a desk job, you likely know that having to be at a desk for the majority of the day can become surprisingly tiring.
Long hours plus having to sit down all day can make it a real challenge to stay fit and active. However, if you put your mind to it, you can get or stay fit while working at your desk job. Below, we will look at five different ways you can achieve your fitness goals despite your job situation.
1. Sneak in exercise breaks throughout the day
Many experts recommend that those who work at a desk get up and move somewhere approximately every 30 minutes. This practice has several fitness benefits, even though it isn’t a full-on workout. For instance, it raises your heart rate somewhat, which can energize you and keep you alert. You burn few calories while sitting, and getting up to move can help you burn more. Ankita Mohapatra, who has gone from a self-described “180-pound couch potato to a 135 pound lean fitness enthusiast, notes that just making time to move has made a big difference for her and can for other people as well.
Additionally, getting up to move can break the monotony of your work and help keep you alert and energized. This can help you have the motivation to do a full workout later, and it can also make you a more efficient office worker. On your lunch breaks, you may be able to go for a walk or do another type of exercise as well.
2. Find an active after-work hobby you enjoy
If you are often tired after a long day at work but still want to have an exercise program, you will e more likely to stick to that program if it involves something you enjoy doing. Some desk workers may like activities that get them far away, both mentally and physically, from an office environment.
Mountain biking is an example- this is a hobby that has physical benefits but also gets you out in nature and fresh air. And while some may worry about cost, there is a large selection of mountain bikes under 200 available. You can get a sturdy, reliable bike for a relatively low price, and the bike will likely last years. Some riders enjoy biking so much that they choose to bike to work, which is another way to fit more physical activity into a busy workday. If you are socially inclined, you can even create a group of coworkers to go for after-work rides. Accountability can help you follow through on exercising, even on days when you don’t want to.
3. Have smart nutrition habits
When you are at work and pressed for time, unhealthy food choices are often the most convenient ones. But since you burn fewer calories sitting, it is important to choose healthier foods. The right nutrients can help you stay focused and also reduce your chances of gaining weight. Bringing your own healthy snacks and bringing lunches from home can help you avoid temptation and can also help you save money. Shireen McCleary lost three entire pants sizes while working a sedentary job, and she explains that making sure she packed a lunch with healthy foods went a long way toward helping her reach her goal.
4. See if you can get a standing or treadmill desk
While not offices offer this option, you may be able to request a standing desk. Standing burns more than sitting does, and you also may find that standing keeps feeling more alert. Some offices even have treadmill desks, so if this is an option, it may be a good one to pursue. Treadmill desks are somewhat uncommon, however, and they aren’t available at many offices.
If neither option is available through your office, you can bring in your own stability ball and sit on it instead of in a traditional chair. The ball is more physically challenging to sit in than a chair is, and this can help keep you alert and also help you use more calories. Plus, if you’re dedicated, you can even use the stability ball to do exercises on your lunch breaks or right after work.
5. Stay well hydrated
Drinking water might seem like an unusual thing to have on a list about staying fit, but well-hydrated people are generally more alert and have better energy. But alertness isn’t the only benefit an optimal hydration level has to offer. When you are well-hydrated, the water takes up space in your stomach, and you are less likely to suddenly crave something fattening or unhealthy. If you are in an office where you frequently need to fight off temptation to eat doughnuts or cake, being sure to drink plenty of water can help you stick to your healthier diet plan.
In short, while working a desk job can make staying fit and healthy a challenge, you aren’t doomed to a life of poor fitness if you have to start working at a desk. If you make intentional, healthy choices in terms of both food and exercise, you can maintain and even improve your fitness level. Many of the above guidelines come down to three simple rules: fit in physical activity where you can, eat healthily and mindfully, and stay hydrated. If you do all of these things, chances are good that you will be able to both succeed at your job and succeed in achieving your health and fitness goals.
About the author:
Amanda Wilks is a career focused blogger and writer with a sports and fitness spike, motivated by social works and inspirational thought leaders of all ages. See more of Amanda’s work on Twitter.