Stay fit at work: 10 ways to get in shape working in an office
It can be a real challenge to stay fit at work, and not let the sedentary lifestyle lead you to weight gain, sore joints, a tired back, and neck pain. There are so many studies out there that show that “sitting is the new smoking”, meaning that our sedentary lifestyles are causing us just as much, if not more, trouble than past generations that smoked constantly and ruined their health.
I have something to admit: I love working in an office most of all. Like many people of my generation, I have done all sorts of jobs; starting with working in food service as a teen, moving to retail in my university years, I worked in radio for a decade, and for the last 12 years, I have worked in digital marketing in a few types of offices; from the very funky, to the very, very dull.
While I loved the go-go-go of retail work (I sold clothes, jewellery, surf gear and shoes in my time), I found that being on my feet all day was difficult, and the lack of planning and ability to be creative was quite stifling. So – give me an office any day; one where I can make a cup of coffee, chin-wag with my team, boot up my PC, and get creative in a digital space. My idea of heaven.
But not for my waistline, so it seems.
I wrote earlier this year about Why I Have Gained Weight & How I Am Going To Fix It and the good news is, the weight is now gone. However, I am now back at the office three days per week, and very stressed out. It’s easy to make poor choices and suffer the weight gain that comes with it.
The ability to stay fit at work is important to your overall health
We spend so much of our lives devoted to our jobs. Sometimes we might feel like we give and give and get little in return. Looking after yourself while you’re working in an office is essential – especially if you want to stay fit, and protect your most important asset – your health and wellbeing.
For this reason, I have done my research and I’d like to give you 10 ways to stay fit at work while working in an office job. Let me know of any that I’ve missed.
#1: Stop mindless snacking
I used to be the worst for mindless snacking. Now I pretty much don’t snack at all, and focus on eating three healthy meals. I wrote a while ago about what to do if you can’t eat breakfast in the morning; it’s fine to have something once you make it to work.
#2: Give up the coffee habit
Yeah, yeah, we all love coffee. In fact, many people I know wouldn’t come to work without the promise of a coffee. However, it can make you edgy, make you irritable, cost you lots of money and affect your anxiety levels. Limit yourself to one or two cups a day – and use your own coffee plunger.
#3: Drink lots of water
I may have poor health, but I am awesome at drinking water. Keep a large bottle on your desk and have a drink whenever you remember. If you really hate to drink plain water, add lemon or fruit, or if you really have to, a tiny bit of sugar free cordial or fruit syrup. Fresh mint is nice too. Here’s how to lose weight with mint.
#4: Get up and move your body
I get frustrated and bored if I sit still for too long, so I make a point of getting up quite frequently. The good news is, if you are drinking a lot of water, the body will call you to get up (to visit the smallest room) quite often. You can also set online timers to motivate you. Remember, if you are standing or walking a lot, it’s important to have comfy shoes.
#5: Take a 5 minute brain break
One of the awesome offices I worked at had a meditation meet up for anyone who wanted to go. We would sit and listen to a guided meditation for 15 minutes, in a quiet meeting room, then go back to our desks. It was great for comradery and helped us to focus. Read Multi-tasking vs. Mediation: Don’t Get Stuck in a Trap for some tips.
#6: Don’t gossip about your coworkers
OK, this tip will not really help you to stay physically fit at work, but it will help you stay mentally fit. Throughout my career I have seen hapless types gossip about their coworkers, who in turn gossip about them. These people never last. Stay out of drama in the office. Rise above. Working in an office does not need to feel “nasty”.
#7: Use your lunchbreak to walk
Yes, we should all be taking our lunchbreaks – no excuses! You’re probably not getting paid for them, so don’t work through them. Use your lunchbreak to take a walk in the sunshine, go to the gym, or simply sit in the sun (with proper sun protection!). You can get in shape in small increments – this works!
#8: Leave on time
Again, so many office “heroes” I have seen in my time, love to stay back late. When you really see what they’re doing, they’re generally wasting time and pretending to be busy. Get your work done, and leave. If you are good at your job, and you have a decent office culture, hopefully, this is possible for you. To stay fit at work, prioritise yourself and your family.
#9: Take your vacations and holidays
To stay fit at work you need a break from work. Check out this article on the fact that 2.4 million Aussies fail to take leave for over a year (our population is only about 23 million people). Take your breaks, use them to recharge and your health and fitness will thank you for it.
#10: If you’re stressed and anxious – talk to someone
Don’t let bad feelings snowball, as these can affect your health and even cause you to gain weight and lose sleep. We all feel stressed in an office job from time to time; it’s part of the culture. But reach out if you start to feel overwhelmed, and take a personal day (or two) if you need to.
How do you stay fit at work?
Tell me your tips and tricks, I’d love to hear them. Let me know if you’re struggling with your weight, health, anxiety or something else, and I’ll try to put you in contact with a resource or some information for you to research. If you want to stay fit at work, you have to learn how from the experts.
Yes, as I always say, I am not a doctor, just a regular “office Jane or Joe” like you, so please use common sense with any fitness or wellness regime you plan to undertake. The above suggestions should be a safe place to start.