How to Stay Healthy at a Desk Job

1545124_989875300083_241985758_nFor those who sit down at a desk most of the day, health and well-being aren’t always easy to work into your lifestyle. Despite the facts showing that we must be proactive about eating well and moving enough during the day in order to avoid weight gain, stress and fitness.

Sitting all day long is one of the worst things for your health, as it increases the likelihood of heart disease and weight gain, among a long list of other negative effects. We sit down at the office, then we sit in the car, and at home, we sit to eat and watch TV!

So what should we do about it? Small changes over time is the best way to increase health and well-being. Here is a list of easy ideas and the best part is that you don’t  have to do them all:

+ Take hourly breaks. Every hour, get up from your desk and go for a quick walk anywhere (furthest restroom, copy machine, water cooler, colleague’s desk). Just move.

+ Stretch or move in place. Don’t have anywhere to go? Touch your toes, walk or march in place for a few minutes, do a set of jumping jacks (who cares what your neighbor thinks!).

+ Meetings on the move. Have a meeting or brainstorm session scheduled? Do it while you walk. It’s not only good for fitness, but helps manage stress and increases creativity! This also works when you’re on the phone.

+ Forget elevators, escalators & moving walkways exist. Unless you work at the top of a 40-story building, consider elevators, escalators and moving walkways your enemy.

+ Forget phone & email. Not always practical, but try visiting people instead.

+ Walk at lunch. Have an hour for lunch? Eat for 30 minutes and walk for 30 minutes. Round up a few colleagues, because fitness is more fun with a friend.

+ Count it out. Get a pedometer or FitBit and shoot for 10,000 or more steps per day.

+ Ditch the car. When possible, walk, bike or run to work. If you live too far away, try parking somewhere in the middle or get off the bus several stops earlier, and walk the rest of the way.

+ Do something active before you get home. Pack a bag and stop at the gym on your way home from work.

+ Wake up earlier. Easier said than done, I know, but the best way to start your day is with a workout DVD or P90X. You only need 30 minutes. Plus it will boost your metabolism and energy levels for the rest of the day.

+ Schedule your daily fitness & meals. Studies show that scheduling what you eat, when you eat and when you exercise is the best way to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Write it down and stick to it.

+ Set alarms on your computer or mobile device. Every hour at work, have a little ringer go off to remind you to take a stretch or walk to the nearest copy machine.

+ Organize your office. File some papers, organize your desk, rearrange things and move around your office. Don’t roll your chair around. Get up and get moving.

+ Get friendly with your Pyrex. When you cook a healthy meal at home, make enough for a small army and take it to work the next few days for lunch. Doesn’t have to be fancy, keep it simple.

+ Go nuts! Instead of buying candy bars (which are loaded with sugar) from the vending machine, keep handy a stash of dry fruit, nuts or protein bars.

+ Load up on herbal tea. Grab your favorite mug and start sampling herbal teas.

+ Hit the water. Get a reusable water bottle and keep it on your desk. Drink at least one full bottle before lunch, and one full one before you go home at the end of the day. Drinking water will help you feel more full throughout the day.

+ Just say no! Say, “No thanks,” to all the treats that get passed around the office: cakes, doughnuts, bagels, cookies, etc. If you’re truly hungry, reach for the dried fruit, nuts or a protein bar.

+ Skip restaurants. Avoid most restaurant food, because it is usually loaded with extra sugar, salt and artificial ingredients. It’s best to eat the healthy food you prepared at home. If you do eat out, choose a healthy salad or refer to this list for other substitutes.

Have more ideas to add to this list? Please add them in the comments below!

For those of you who think you don’t have time to exercise, click here to find out how to make time, no matter how busy you are! Our health is our most important asset and affects everything else in our life. So make time for it.

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