For most of us, it seems as if we’re spending more time at work and less time thinking about the amount of exercise we get or the food we eat. Excuses like “I don’t have time” or “I’m working, so I can’t eat healthy” are all too easy to make- but a little advance planning can make a big difference. Here are some tips for healthy living at work:
- Stretch beside your desk. Many of us underestimate the benefits of a good stretch; while it won’t cause great fat loss, it does increase metabolism and help you relax. Try to squeeze some of these stretches into your daily routine- sit tall in your chair, and stretch your arms as far overhead as possible. Try putting your ear to your shoulder, holding for ten seconds, and then switch sides. Torso twists and shoulder rolls are great as well.
- Maintain good posture. Slouching can result in a tense lower back; besides looking stronger, sitting straight can help ward off headaches, back pain and tiredness.
- Pack healthy snacks. Workplaces are full of fatty, sugary food- someone brings in a cake, people are selling cookies for fundraisers, candy dishes on every desk….the list goes on. It can be hard to avoid the goodies when you’re hungry. The trick is not to deprive yourself, but to eat something healthy. Bring vegetables, fruit or low-fat crackers to stamp out temptation when it arises.
- Bring breakfast and lunch. A lot of people pack a healthy lunch, but forget about the importance of eating a healthy breakfast. Skipping the most important meal of the day decreases metabolism; a sugary pastry is better than nothing, but a piece of fruit or some peanut butter on toast is so much better.
- Get outdoors as much as you can. Sitting at your desk all day can be physically and mentally draining. Even a short walk at lunchtime can do wonders for your mental faculties and your physical health.
- Get active. The human body was designed for movement, not a sedentary lifestyle. Instead of sending an inter-office email, get up and walk to talk to co-workers. Stand when on the phone, or volunteer to walk to pick up lunch or coffee for the office.
- Try to squeeze in some strength training. Sit straight in your chair, tightening your abs, and hold for five seconds. Gradually increase time as you become more fit. (The above concept works for your glutes, too).
Perhaps most importantly, you shouldn’t let the fear of ridicule or embarrassment keep you from pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Most likely, your co-workers will respect your efforts, and some may even want to join you. Healthy living is a worthwhile goal for everyone, and it’s something to be proud of.