Desk jobs are the easiest jobs to get into. They are also the easiest jobs to gain weight in. Sitting down for hours can take a toll on your health because of the lack of physical activity – cramps and joint pains are only a few of the possible consequences. Unfortunately, these jobs require that you are always available at your desk, and sitting feels like the escape route to overcoming fatigue. How then do you avoid jeopardizing your career yet still stay fit? Well, here are a couple of healthy habits you can adopt if you work a desk job.
1. Sneak in quick breaks – Get those forms yourself
While your job description does say that you have to be available as needed, it certainly does not state that you have to be on the chair 24/7. Incorporate movement into your day – do you need a form that you can only get from a coworker’s desk? Go get it, don’t send for it. If you need a coworker’s insight on something be willing to walk over to their desk and ask for it. Do you need to borrow a stapler to attach a customer’s passport to a form? Walk over to the desk and get it.
The idea is to take quick breaks that allow you to stand up and flex your previously cramped muscles. It doesn’t even have to be something major – water breaks, coffee breaks, and bathroom break also count as an opportunity to move. You may even choose to ditch the e-mail and walk over to a coworker’s desk to make an inquiry or communicate an important message.
2. Take a quick stroll during lunch break
Your lunch break is a perfect opportunity to take a quick stroll around your office environment and enjoy the fresh air. Stroll down to the store across the street to buy your lunch – you can bait your favorite colleague to go with you, to make the walk more interesting. If you go to work with packed lunches, try moving to the lunchroom or a friend’s desk to have the meal.
It is also the best time to approach your boss for clarity on the latest communicated policy or search for the perfect spot to record your Tik Tok videos. Walking is under-rated. Taking a stroll does not only get the blood flowing through cramped muscles, a quiet walk is also the best time to collect your thoughts and clear your head.
3. Ditch the elevator for the stairs sometimes
You are probably looking at this one and shaking your head already. “If my company has an elevator why should I suffer on the stairs?” For more physical activity. Let’s face it, 15 minutes of high-intensity workouts every morning is not enough physical activity for the almost 9 hours you spend at a desk job every day. You have to supplement that with extra minutes of physical activity while you are at work, hence, the stairs.
You do not have to use the stairs every time, only sometimes. Another healthy habit you can adopt is to park your car a bit far from the office complex so you have to walk more steps to get to your desk than usual. Installing an app that records your steps on your phone can help with motivation.
4. Leverage any excuse to stand as an opportunity to move
Does a client need directions? If you have no immediate engagements, play the role of tour guide and lead him there. Or did you receive a private call? Take your call a few steps away from your desk so that you have to remain standing. Asides from the opportunity to move, you also get privacy and protect your coworkers from any outbursts you are likely to have.
When working a desk job, you are most likely going to be performing all your tasks at the same desk – leverage any excuse to stand as an opportunity to move, and stay active. It is also a good way to fight off fatigue – desk jobs can get a little boring if most of your tasks are done behind a screen.
5. Try subtle stretches every once in a while
Although cracking your knuckles loudly is bad office etiquette, you can wiggle your toes under the table and not disturb anybody. Stretch your arms and neck casually whenever you feel fatigued, and lean down to touch your toes to get some strain out of your waist – just be careful not to yawn while doing so, that’s a dead giveaway.
Exercising at your desk job doesn’t always require obvious jumping jacks, subtle stretches work just fine. You can also try doing a body balance while typing an e-mail, or attending to a phone call. If you have a standing or adjustable desk, this will be easier for you.
6. Switch coffee for water and place a pack of mints on your desk.
Working a desk job can get boring as the day drags on. For some of us, when we get bored, we eat. Crackers, peanuts, Munch Its, cheeseballs, donuts – binging on junk food at the office may help you stay awake, but it’ll also help you gain weight (and no, washing snacks down with a cup of hot coffee doesn’t burn the calories). Place a pack of mints on your desk instead, and invest in an attractive water bottle. The mints will keep your mouth busy so you can overcome fatigue, and water aids hydration.
Fun Fact: Water has zero calories so you are at no risk of gaining weight if you drink it often. Drinking water instead of coffee is one of the most healthy habits you can adopt at a desk job.
Move More, Stay Healthy
For a lot of us, staying fit is limited to our morning stretches and weekend jogs. However, to maintain an optimal state of health, incorporating physical activity into our work routine is essential – especially if you work a desk job. These habits are healthy and a little bit addicting – when you start, you may never want to stop – and that’s okay, there’s no such thing as being too healthy!