20 Feb A Desk Jockey’s Guide to Office Fitness
According to the Washington Post, the average person sits for about 10 hours each day. Some articles you’ll find online say that one hour of exercise every day can offset all of this sitting, but unfortunately, the truth is that our bodies don’t work that way. When you sit for extended periods of time, your body goes into “inactive” mode (your calorie-burning rate plummets, your blood flow decreases, and your arteries contract—and those are just the short-term effects). To really counteract the sitting, we need to get moving. Constantly.
This may sound like a tall order if you work a desk job, but fret not! Here are some ways you can make it happen.
Move Your Feet
Use your lunch break to move around. Sitting down while you eat is fine, but most people won’t spend their entire lunch break eating food. Use that extra time to get up and get moving. Take a stroll around the block, or walk the halls of your workplace. The goal is to bump up your metabolism before the afternoon hits, and your lunch break is the perfect opportunity to do that.
Take the stairs. Whether it’s your apartment, the workplace, or walking around the city, do this whenever you can. If you work on the 20th floor of an office building, stop the elevator a few floors before you have to get off and take the stairs the rest of the way. Plus, you can always use the stairs in the parking garage.
Use the longest route to get somewhere in the office. Have a meeting that’s a few doors down on the left? Turn right instead and circle back around. This is an easy way to add up steps throughout the day and to wake up your body from sitting for so long. Trust me, your body will thank you for it!
Set a timer. It doesn’t matter whether you set it for every 20 minutes or every 60 minutes. When the timer goes off, stretch your arms, wiggle your legs, or take a lap around the office. You can even just stand at your desk for a few minutes.
Prepare your meals before work. Yes, this takes some added time and effort, but it’s well worth it. The meals you prepare at home will probably be much healthier (and cheaper) than eating out. Not sure what to cook? Here are 50+ ideas and recipes.
Make conscious food options. When you’re eating, be mindful about it. Mindlessly munching at your desk while you’re working is a surefire way to add up unexpected calories. Multiple studies have shown that we’re more likely to overeat when we’re eating and multitasking at the same time. If you need a midday snack, give yourself a break from your computer and let yourself focus on your food while you eat. Also, no grazing from the vending machine or the break room. If the vending machine or break room is too tempting, then avoid both.
At the Desk
Make sure you’re set up properly. Sitting at a desk for eight hours is bad enough, but most people spend those hours hunched over their screen or their keyboard. Your monitor should be set up so that you’re looking straight ahead. If you can, position your chair and desk so that your knees and elbows are bent at 90º angles.
If you have any questions about your health, you can schedule an appointment with me, Dr. Mai Sharaf, by calling 817-617-8650 or by scheduling online at continuumtx.com.