Even if you spend an hour each day at the gym, you spend at least eight times that amount at work. Sitting. Snacking. Stressing. None of which furthers your personal fitness agenda.
I'm not saying you should throw your papers in the air and walk out the door to become a personal trainer, professional mountain bike racer, or bear wrestler. That may not be a good idea. You can, however, implement a few strategies to make your workplace healthier.
By making your office a friendly place for health and fitness, you'll be able to spend more time working toward your goals. Add the following things to your workday and you might just see those inches slide off a little faster. This will probably help your career, too. Win-win.
1 Fire Your Chair and Replace it with an Exercise Ball
Your old office chair sees more of your backside than probably anything or anyone in the world. Sitting eight hours every day may not be killing you, but if you add those hours to the time you spend sitting in the car, sitting on the couch, and sitting at the table, you're looking at spending most of your life on your butt. According to this infographic, sitting too much is just about the worst thing you can do.
Take some wear off your spine by sitting on an exercise ball. It's a great way to strengthen your entire abdominal region and the muscles that flank the spinal column. By sitting on one throughout the day, you maintain a low level of contraction in the core muscles, providing strength benefits and added calorie burn.
If you're struggling to stay upright on an exercise ball, try sitting on it for one-hour intervals until you can remain upright all day.
2 Stock a Mini-fridge/Cooler
If you have an office, invest in a mini-fridge. If you're in a cubicle farm, bring a cooler to work. Packing in your lunch and snacks for the day makes keeping track of your macros nice and simple. If you're constantly going out for lunch instead of preparing a healthy meal at home, you probably ingest far more calories than you need.
It takes 10 minutes to prepare a healthy lunch the night before work or pack leftovers from dinner. So there's no excuse to continually make poor eating choices.
3 Stuff Your Desk Drawer with Healthy Snacks
The vending machine can take a toll on your nutrition plans. Instead of wasting your money on that Pop-Tart and Diet Coke like usual, keep some canned tuna, instant oatmeal, low-sodium jerky, protein bars, and home-made trail mix in your desk drawer. The next time you have to work late, healthy eats will be within arms' reach.
More ideas for some easy, packable snacks can be found here.
4 Coffee Break? Put Caffeine to Good Use
No matter how hard you work, you need to take an occasional break to de-stress and refresh. So keep a pair of running shoes stashed under your desk, and when your coffee break rolls around, take a brisk 10-15 minute walk. Not only will this torch a few calories, but it may help you clear your mind, ease stress, regain focus, and feel more energized.
Movement increases circulation to your limbs and brain. Most people don't realize how energy-draining long-term sitting can be. So if you feel like passing out at your desk, a mid-morning and mid-afternoon stroll could be just what you need.
5 Keep a Water Bottle on Your Desk
If the only fluids you tend to consume during your workday are coffee and diet soda, you need some water. Many people don't realize they're dehydrated. Thirst can zap your concentration, energy and performance.
Start keeping a water bottle on your desk at all times. That way, you can sip on it as the day moves along and get the water your body needs without having to think about it.
6 Set a Timer
Instead of sitting at your desk for eight hours straight, set a timer to go off each hour. When it beeps, do something active for one or two minutes.
You can do 10 push-ups or squats easily enough. Even going for a short walk is better than nothing.
By moving around for just two minutes every hour, you'll feel better at the end of the day. Bring a little play to work and your brain. Your body and your boss will all thank you.