If you work an office job chances are you probably have a difficult time staying active when putting in long shifts at the office. Even if you’re a fitness freak, working long hours can derail your goals faster than that box of Tim Horton’s donuts that your co-worker brings in every Monday. Not everyone aspires to be an Olympian or fitness model, or maybe you do? So here are some tips for anyone fit or not who works a sedentary job and is looking to improve their overall health, productivity and well-being through fitness and nutrition.
- Get out of the office and get active
This one is number one for a reason. If you work a desk job, you are not moving as much as other professions and are sitting for long periods. If you have a coffee or lunch break, get outside and get moving. Even if it is a few laps around the building or walking down the street to get a coffee, anything is better than nothing. You will probably find that your productivity will increase if you take scheduled breaks and get the blood flowing by going for a walk or run during your breaks. If you get a long enough lunch break and you have a gym nearby, that is always a great option as well. Get outside and clear your mind and your body will thank you.
- Pack a lunch
I can’t stress this one enough. I know so many people who go out to eat for lunch every day. Sure, it is nice not to make a lunch but try to get yourself in a routine where you make a lunch every day, even if it means preparing it the night before. The easiest way is to make a larger dinner the night before and eat the leftovers the next day. Eating out once in a while is fine but if it becomes a regular thing, restaurant or fast food is usually packed with unnecessary calories that you will not burn off easily sitting at your computer every day.
- Skip those office treats
Where I work, customers and coworkers are always bringing in donuts, pizza and sweets constantly. I know it is difficult to say no but nothing can derail your weight loss or fitness goals faster than office treats and sweets. I’ve found by packing a lunch and bringing healthy snacks such as a bag of fresh veggies, I am much less likely to indulge. Practice your self-control here, you’ll thank me later.
Meditation is a highly underutilized tool for dealing with stress and organizing your thoughts for the day. It is super easy and only takes about 15 minutes a day best done in the morning. Stress is sometimes unavoidable but it is all about how you deal with it. There are several apps that make meditation a no brainer such as my personal favourite, Headspace.
- Try Fasting
I know intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone but it can be a very effective fat loss tool which requires very little effort. Not only will you be more productive in the office but you will be burning fat at the same time. 16 hour and 24 hour fasts are the two most popular methods. Improved cognitive function, increased metabolic rate, fat loss and decreased inflammation are just a few of the many benefits of fasting so be checkout my full guide, Fasting 101 – What you need to know, for more info on fasting.
- Get a Fitbit
Track your steps and activity levels by using a Fitbit, apple watch, pedometer etc. This gives you a really good idea of how active you are throughout the day. You might think you walk a lot everyday but most people over estimate exactly how many steps you actually do every day. Set a goal for yourself such as 8000 or 10000 steps every day, this will encourage you to move more and is an effective strategy to control weight gain from sitting at your desk for long hours. Simple things such as parking further away, always taking the stairs and if possible walking to work are all easy ways to increase your activity level without even noticing you’re moving more. These can make a huge difference in your step count and will burn more calories throughout the day.
- Drink more water
You might think this one is a given but most people I know under consume water. You should be drinking a minimum of 2 litres of water per day and even more if it is hot or you’re exercising. Bring a water bottle to work and calculate how many bottles you need to drink per day to meet your daily water requirements. Water is essential for bodily functions. Your brain is over 85% water and if you’re dehydrated even slightly, cognitive function decreases. Coffee does not count towards your daily total, coffee dehydrates you so be sure to drink water as you drink your coffee. Water kick-starts your metabolism, flushes out toxins and can help you lose weight. Increasing your water intake is the easiest tip on this list so if you are going to do anything on this list start with drinking more water.
Just a few simple tips that go a long way by helping you burn more calories, improve your overall health and be more productive at your office job.