The desk job is just plain unhealthy. We’ve heard it time after time after time, but it poses a seemingly impossible conundrum: the economy is more desk-bound than ever, but also more health conscious. I want to discuss a few ways to mitigate Desk Damage. As with any fitness plan, the only real solution is the one you can stick with. Remember, your body right now reflects the life you live right now, so even small improvements to your lifestyle will have positive health benefits in the long run. Some of these suggestions will work for you, some won’t.
Getting up and moving is probably the most productive thing you can do at work to improve your health. A quick walk around your office floor once an hour and a walk around the building once a day will give you a serious boost to health and energy. Don’t be afraid to invite a coworker or boss to a ‘walking meeting’ (as long as the subject isn’t too secret, of course!)
The modern office is full of snacks. 10 years ago, offices had vending machines in the breakroom, but many modern offices leave free food for workers as a fun perk. It can be easy to grab a cookie or a snack bar without thinking twice. Often, office workers eat these snacks in addition to big lunches at local eateries, which is a kind of one-two punch to your health. Obviously, eating snack foods isn’t the best option health-wise but you can mitigate it by eating smaller lunches on days when you snack and by snacking slowly throughout the day instead of having big snacks all at once. For example, instead of eating 3 cookies in the morning followed by a big lunch, eat the cookies throughout the day with a small or medium sized lunch. Spreading out your food over the workday can help cut down on your overall consumption as well as cutting down the hunger pains from dieting. Also, consider low calorie foods like spinach or seaweed if you want something to guiltlessly munch on.
Standing Up for Yourself
Much has been said about the standing desk, instead the results are pretty clear with some trials reporting: “increased overall sense of well-being, energy, decreased fatigue, had no impact on productivity, and reduced appetite and dietary intake”. If you can put up with it and you do it right, it will help you. It’s not a cure-all, however, and many experts recommend switching up between standing and sitting to maintain a healthy balance.
Try to a find an accountability buddy in your office. This should be someone you interact with regularly, and hopefully someone you sit next to. You can talk to this person about your cravings and your health choices. If you work to keep them on a health path, they will do the same for you. Soon, it will be second nature and you will both be healthier for it.
Check Out the Perks
Many HR departments will pay for gym memberships, fitness equipment, or even personal training. It’s always worth asking, especially when starting at a new company. If your office has a gym, try to commit to going at a regular time, once a week. If you can stick with that, expand the habit. Having a workout partner (like your accountability buddy) will make a huge difference.