There was a time, not so very long ago, when human life involved a lot of movement.
With most people doing hard labor in the factories, fields and home, only the upper middle class and above knew much about the sedentary lifestyle. Sadly, as these sorts of jobs have spread across all echelons of society, calories have become more and more condensed into cheap (and delicious) products, packing a one-two punch for our guts and our health. It takes a lot of creativity to stay fit at a desk job, where it’s easier to reach for that slice of cake in the break-room than it is to jog across town to the grocery store for a nice rewarding pack of carrots. Here are a few unexpected ways to sneak that healthy lifestyle in.
5. Get the Most Out of Your Commute
If you can’t get a good workout in either before or after work (and even if you can), try turning that commute into an opportunity for exercise. Run, walk, bike, flap your arms like a bird, whatever; even taking public transport to work will require more movement, as you’ll have to walk between stations and your destinations. This can also be a good way to sneak in time for stimulating podcasts and audiobooks, which can get you into a contemplative or creative mood for the workday, or help you let down after a long one.
4. Sneak in Movement
Despite how it may seem, there are opportunities for movement throughout the workday. Start by getting up to stretch every 30 – 45 minutes, increasing blood flowing through those legs. Drink a lot of water, too, and you’ll have a regular excuse to get moving. Try visiting a colleague’s desk across the office rather than firing off an email, and host a good old fashioned West Wing-style walking meeting once in awhile.
3. Schedule in Time for Lunch
For workhorses, it’s tempting to work through lunch and sneak in a few extra tasks. But the human body and mind have limited productivity, and you’ll find you’ll actually get a lot more done if you take the time to relax and let your mind refresh itself. When I recommend scheduling in time for lunch, I mean actually blocking it off on your calendar like it’s as important as a meeting…because it is. If you take the time to fully enjoy your meal, both your mind and body will take note of what you’re doing, keeping you better satiated for longer. If eating isn’t as important to you, take this time to sneak in a workout at the gym around the corner.
Snacking’s bad rap is largely undeserved. Sure, if you throw back a salty, fatty packet of chips three times a day, your body isn’t going to like you. But healthy snacking can actually be your key to staving off hunger-induced binges, keeping energy levels constant, and losing or maintaining weight. For the best results, keep those portions small and try to snack every several hours or so. Go forhealthy snacks that provide nutrients and vitamins along with calories, like fruit, nuts, or whole grains that won’t spike your insulin levels.
1. Get Your Whole Office In On It
If you’ve got friends at the office with fitness goals of their own, why not make them your support network? They’re right there, and you’ll be a lot more likely to head to the gym after work if you know you’ve got a nearby friend in on it. If you’re up for some lobbying, ask your boss about implementing a workplace wellness program. This can be anything from gym memberships to developing incentives and initiatives for taking time out of the work day for working out, guilt-free. Working out gets a whole lot easier if you’re not having to sneak it in, and a company-wide preventative health program can actually lower insurance costs if they offer wellness programs.
Staying fit at a desk job is possible, just as long as you get your supportive network in place and your creativity hat on. So snack well, get moving, and work better while feeling better, too.