Even if you’re putting in the work every day at the gym, there’s one thing that could still be holding you back from achieving your goals: your desk job.
For many people, sedentariness throughout the workday presents a major obstacle to staying fit. No matter how regularly you work out, slouching in front of a computer for eight hours a day can still counteract some of those efforts.
Think about it: even if you’re going to the gym every single day, that usually only accounts for an hour or so of your time. When you compare that to the usual eight hours or so you spend in your office, it’s not that much!
Finding ways to tweak your workspace and your habits can help keep you on track all day long. So whether you’re working from home or putting in your hours at the office, here are 5 ways to stay fit while you’re on the clock.
If you’re spending the majority of the time sitting down, it’s not just bad for your fitness - it could be killing you. Humans are meant to be moving around, but the advent of “desk jobs,” city settings, and other careers that put us on a chair rather than our feet are contributing to sedentariness, which can spell disaster for our health.
Sitting for long hours means that you’re burning fewer calories and has been linked to health conditions like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and weakness - to name a few! This phenomenon even has a name: “sitting disease.”
If you have a sedentary job, make it a point to get on your feet as often as you can. Try taking regularly scheduled movement breaks to break up the day. For example, you can try getting up and walking around every 25 minutes for five minutes. During this time, you can take a walk around the building or hit the stairs a couple of times. Even standing for those five minutes instead of sitting can help in the long run.
If you’re having a hard time staying active during the workday, it might be worth taking a look at your office setup.
Most offices are designed to let you sit for long hours slugging it out on the computer. Luckily, more and more companies are catching on to the issues with the traditional desk/chair setup and its negative impacts on our health and fitness. So there are plenty of options you can consider to stay moving during work, including:
If your office allows it, investing in one of these options can help you stay active and may even increase your productivity.
Mobility and flexibility are often overlooked in fitness, but they are just as important for your physique and health.
Your soft tissues (aka your ligaments and joints) need to be stretched out often to prevent injuries during your “main” workouts. But stretching is also important during the workday: takingregular stretching breaks can help minimize or reduce some of the common aches and pains that come with desk jobs like back pain, neck pain, and wrist pain.
When you’re taking your regular movement breaks, use some of that time to stretch out some “problem areas” like your hips, neck, and back. The more frequently you do this, the more it will help reduce your mobility and flexibility.
One of the best ways to keep track of your activity during the day (and outside of the gym) is to watch your step count. The “golden rule” is that you should be getting10,000 steps a day for fitness and/or weight loss, though you can also work on just gradually increasing your own steps if that seems overwhelming at first.
Invest in a FitBit or smartwatch that can give you insights into your daily steps. You can even download a simple pedometer app on your phone to help you keep track.
Many of us spend the majority of our days at work, so taking a look at our eating habits during that time is also important for staying fit.
You might fall victim to emotional “stress eating” if you’re working a high-pressure job or have a lot on your plate. On the flip side, you might even forget to eat at all when things get busy. Neither of these is ideal if you’re trying to reach fitness goals!
The best way to combat irregular eating patterns is to schedule your eating breaks, rather than allowing yourself to reach for things at will. Doing this will allow you to stay mindful and fuel properly, rather than getting blinded by emotions and compromising your health goals for the day.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re keeping healthy snacks on hand to avoid reaching for snacks that don’t help your goals. Clean, high-protein options like protein bars, shakes, nuts, and seeds can keep you full and satisfied for longer.
Your fitness doesn’t stop at the gym. Make every hour count by taking action during your workday - you’ll be doing your body a world of good.