Let’s face it: in terms of keeping fit and healthy, office jobs suck. But do not fear! It can be hard getting used to being sat down most of the day or not being as active as you once were/would like to be, but there are ways to adapt your working day and avoid those unhealthy habits.
I’ve been asked about this recently by a few close friends who are also new to the office job lifestyle, and whilst there are loads of different articles about this online, I thought I’d share with you all my own favourite top tips to keep your work life healthy:
- Make sure you move every hour
It may sound easy, but when you’ve got your head down and you’re in the zone you may not always realise how long you’ve actually been sat down. Whether you set an alarm on your phone, have a Fitbit or smart watch to remind you like I do (see below, it’s cool), or just keep an eye on the clock, you should try your best to get up and walk around every hour to keep yourself from seizing up and to keep the blood properly flowing. Even just getting up to go to the loo can be enough; a little lap round the office floor or up and down the stairs if you’re feeling more adventurous (and don’t mind looking a bit silly just wandering around for the sake of it).
There’s actually been research to show that your butt muscles can suffer from sitting down too long! Which if you’ve worked hard to keep it peachy is the last thing you want! (See my favourite gal Kayla’s blog post for more)
- Try adding more steps into your regular journeys
Things you get up regularly for like going to the toilet or making a fresh of cup of tea can still be a part of keeping active if you tweak them a little by adding a few more steps to get there. For example: going to the toilet on a different floor rather than the one that’s closest to you. This is such a small, simple change that can make a big difference overall, especially if it involves an extra flight of stairs!
- Stock your desk with healthy snacks
Or even better, keep them in the fridge so you have to get up to go and get them! It’s too easy to sit and snack at your desk, especially when someone brings in that freshly baked cake; but I urge you to resist the temptation as much as possible and keep healthy, filling snacks at the ready for when hunger pangs strike.
Again, there are loads of articles about this online, but my favourites are:
- chopped veg such as carrot or cucumber sticks, with a hummus or light cream cheese dip if you don’t fancy them on their own
- tuna mayo and Ryvita (my favourite is the oat & pumpkin seed) – the tuna is a great source of protein and the Ryvita contains lots of healthy fibre, so this snack will keep you fuller for longer and is really good for you!
- dried fruit & nuts – both are really good for you in moderation and will keep you better satisfied than a cheeky chocolate bar or a slice of cake. My favourite to have in my desk drawers are the packets of baked fruit from Urban Fruit (but it’s far too hard not to eat the whole packet in one).
- Eat lunch away from your desk
Although not always possible if you’ve got a tight deadline looming, this one is so important. Not just for your physical health but also for your mental health & wellbeing. It’s highly recommended that you keep work and rest in separate spaces in order to keep your mind healthy and allow you to relax as much as possible in your rest space without any stressful associations.
This is especially poignant when you’re a student or you often work from home; you should make sure to keep your work outside of your bedroom where possible as this can impact your quality of sleep and have knock-on effects on everything else. Eating lunch away from your desk at work means that you maximise your breaks by giving your mind a rest too, coming back with greater focus once fed with fresh fuel.
- Go for a walk outside when possible
Even if it’s just a lap around the building or a walk up and down the estate this can really help with keeping you fit and active in an otherwise quite sedentary role, as well as bringing up your daily step count if you track it using a Fitbit or smart watch. This also relates to the previous, giving your mind a much needed break away and breath of fresh air.
- Prepare your packed lunches and snacks
Meal prep is kind of a big deal these days but it really is so important in helping you stay strong and fight the temptations to veer off-plan. Preparing your lunches and snacks beforehand rather than buying something from the office canteen or the bakery down the road allows you to make sure you’re giving your body the best fuel possible and keep your lunchbox full of nutritious goodness, as well as actually saving you money and food waste in the long run. Win-win!
There are loads of things you can do to spice up your daily routine; the above are just my essentials for keeping myself sane and not stir-crazy! Obviously it’s still best to keep up the gym as much as you can, there are even workouts you can do at your desk! (Just search #officeworkout on Instagram) But these few simple steps can keep you feeling fit and healthy even when you spend most of your day sat down, especially if you’re struggling for a little extra motivation.
You can find plenty more advice online – my go-to for fitness tips and tricks is my favourite Queen Kayla – but it’s true when they say life is what you make of it! So get up off that butt and go for a little walk, bet you’ll feel ten times better!
Diolch i chi a hwyl am nawr,