When you work a 9-5 job in an office, you’re likely to spend most of your time sitting at a desk in front of a screen. This is hardly the most conducive environment for keeping fit and healthy.
In fact, it’s probably very likely to encourage bad eating habits and to limit the time you have available for doing any exercise. However, that’s no excuse for simply letting go and accepting an inevitable increase in weight and loss of muscle tone.
One approach is to challenge yourself to reach a set goal. Three staff members from the money saving website Voucherbox recently documented their 12-week challenge to get fit and lose weight using supplements, individual diet and exercise plans provided by MyProtein. It seemed that doing the challenge together made it a lot more fun and helped on the motivation front. Setting a timed challenge period can be really motivational as it gives you a series of goals to aim for each week and you can see how beneficial the changes have been and whether it’s worth continuing.
However, a challenge doesn’t suit everyone. If that solution feels too rigid, you can simply make a few adjustments so that you can fit a healthy lifestyle around your desk job. Whether you do a specific challenge or just make a few changes to your routine, it’s always helpful to buddy up with a colleague to make it easier to commit to healthier eating and exercise habits in the workplace. Try these ideas :
Many of us tend to grab a quick bite at our desks, rather than going to eat our lunch somewhere else. A break can actually help you clear your head and so when you return to work after lunch you can be a lot more productive.
Going out of the office will also give you the chance to have some exercise. Pick a route from the building that takes in the local park or even just a circuit around a few streets for 15 minutes’ brisk walking.
Whatever you choose to eat for lunch, practise portion control too as you won’t have the chance to burn off the calories in the afternoon. You can eat things like pizza, but include a healthy salad alongside it.
Workplaces are a hotbed of temptation when it comes to snacking. It’s often someone’s birthday, so there’ll be cake in the kitchen, or maybe colleagues want to remove tempting food from home so bring things like tins of biscuits and sweets into work. Sure, they may have a few, but they can be confident that other people will be tucking into them too. If you want to avoid these extra calories, simply keep them out of sight, out of mind, or have a healthy alternative snack, such as nuts or fresh fruit ready to keep hunger pangs at bay.
It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day and doing so can avoid that lolling feeling that many office workers get around 3pm. The recommended amount of water has always been eight to ten glasses a day, but remember if you’re not keen on downing lots of glasses of water, you can get water from certain foods such as watermelon, grapes, oranges and apples. If you forget to drink, use your phone alarm to remind you at different points during the day.
Make sure that you’re not sitting in an awkward position where you might encourage neck and shoulder tension. Ensure you have a decent office chair that offers you good lumbar support, and make sure that you don’t need to squint to see the screen. It’s sometimes really simple changes, such as lowering a window blind or repositioning your pc that can make all the difference.
If you wake up a little earlier each day, you can factor in enough time to get off the bus or tube a few stops early and walk the rest of the way to work. Do the same at the end of the day. As well as adding in some physical exercise to your daily routine, it also helps you arrive awake and raring to go, and at the end of the day lets you shake off any work stress before you go home. Ideally, you could take your gym kit with you so you can drop in for a class or swim after work. It’s so much easier to find the motivation to do this ‘en route’ rather than turning out again when you’ve got home.
Having an office job isn’t a good enough excuse for an unhealthy lifestyle. Make tweaks to the way you eat and get from A to B and it’s no problem to stay healthy at work.