Sure, we all want to stay fit, but that’s easier said than done when working long hours at a desk job. It’s not like typing is a real calorie-burner, and nor is sitting so long in one spot your tailbone aches. And who can be blamed for downing an entire pack of Oreos after that stressful performance review? Still, there are many ways to maintain health, just as long as you get a little creative. Here are our top 10 techniques.
10. Push it hard before, after, or between work
Whether you’d prefer to start the day with a nice, eye-opening session on the bike or end it by pounding out the day’s stress on the treadmill, sneaking in that workout hour either before or after work is a good way to make sure you’re pushing your body at least once during the day.
Working out during lunch is always an option too, especially if you elect for one of those no-nonsense, super-quick workouts like Crossfit or PX90, which emphasize intense workouts in anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. And what better way to relax, meet people and hang with friends than joining an after work sports league?
9. Choose a gym that’s close or on the way to work
You hate rush hour traffic, right? Beat morning commuters by heading in to the gym early, or miss them in the evening by heading for the elliptical rather than to the car. You may not exactly want to do a sprint workout but it will feel a whole lot better than sitting in traffic. Or…
8. Become an active commuter
If you live relatively near work, walk. If you live a fair distance away, bike. Even taking public transport can be an active form of commuting, given how much walking you’ll need to do between stations, the office and home.
7. Always have the right gear on hand
How many times have you really, truly (honestly!) meant to bike or run home from work, only to take one look at the grey sky and proclaim, “Welp, looks like there’s a very slight drizzle and I didn’t bring my rain slicker.” It’s a lot harder to do this when you’ve got one stuffed into your bottom drawer.
6. Make standing the new sitting
It seems like every other day a new study crops up warning of the dangers of sitting. Lobby your office administrators for a stand up desk, particularly one that can be easily lowered and raised so you can sit when you get tired and build up your stamina. Or, if sitting is a must, swap that chair for an exercise ball, which will do a much better job of engaging your core.
5. Move, move, move
Perhaps one of the most effective ways to stay in shape at a desk job is to be on the alert for ways small ways to move. Set a timer that reminds you to stretch. Get up and walk across the office to talk to a colleague rather than sending an email. Do “deskercises” between phone calls. Or simply fidget. Movement is good anyway you can get it!
4. Shun modern convenience
Along similar lines, find even more opportunities to move when you navigate the world the old school way. Opt for the stairs rather than the elevator, and walk those ten blocks rather than catching a bus.
3. Snack healthily
For most of us, snacking isn’t something we mean to do. It just sort of happens…You get bored during a long task, or a meeting runs into dinner time, and before you know it, you’re throwing back that leftover birthday cake in the break room.
Relax. Eating healthy snacks is actually a great way to stave off deeper, darker binge cravings and keep those energy and insulin-levels steady. Prepare ahead of time with the good stuff rather than falling prey to the old “it was just there!” excuse.
2. Pack your own lunch
Packing your own, healthy, filling lunch is a great way to watch both your waistline and your wallet. When you bring your own food, you can better control both what goes into your meal (particularly when it comes to added fat and salt) and portion sizes. And let’s face it. No matter how much self-control you have, it’s just hard to resist an extra bite of that delicious restaurant dish when it’s sitting there in front of you.
1. Drink water
Not only will drinking water keep you hydrated and stave off hunger, but it will also make you get up more frequently for reasons you can intuit.
All together, these creative techniques for staying in shape at a desk job will keep you energized, lower your stress levels, and will tighten those muscles. You know, your real muscles. Not just the ones that help you type.