Unfortunately most jobs require you to sit, motionless, for large portions of the day, which is far from the best way to burn calories.
Most of us can’t afford to just quit our jobs because they don’t line up with our fitness goals. Luckily, regardless of the job you’re in, there are things that you can do to live healthier and meet your goals. If you’re willing to think outside the box, you can keep yourself trim and healthy, no matter your work conditions. Here are 7 ideas for things that you can do at work to stop weight gain and even to lose weight.
1. Take the Stairs
If you work in an office building with multiple levels, chances are that you will occasionally have cause to leave the ground floor. Whether you work on the fourth floor or occasionally get volunteered to go pick up the forms from HR on the third, you can squeeze in a little extra activity by taking the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you need to move between stories. It may not burn hundreds of calories every time you take the stairs, but if you consistently do it, the effects will add up over time.
2. Park and Walk
Most of us are trained to look for the absolute closest parking spot to our place of employment; sometimes you’ll even find someone prowling the parking lot for several minutes to find a close spot. Instead, try parking in one of the further stalls and walking. Again, it’s not much, but a little bit of exercise here and there really does add up.
3. Move Under Your Own Power
The more you can move under your own power when you’re going to and from work, the better. This next suggestion won’t be feasible for everyone, but if you live close enough to the office, you might try switching to walking or biking to work. If this doesn’t work, you may be able to take the bus. Even if there’s a stop relatively close to your work, you may be able to add a significant amount of walking to your daily routine. If you can bike, walk, or take the bus to work, you’ll help yourself stop weight gain and do some good for the environment. It’s a win-win!
4. Take Exercise Breaks
One of the difficult things about many jobs is how much they require us to simply sit. Sitting burns very few calories, it can be hard on the spine, and it can contribute to aches, pains, and postural problems. Because of this, it’s a very good idea to get up occasionally and at least take breaks to stretch.
But if you want to burn calories and lose weight, try taking small exercise breaks every now and then. Stopping once an hour to do one minute’s worth of push-ups, squats, or jumping jacks will not adversely affect your productivity, and may even increase it by helping you to be more alert. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish during short exercise breaks.
5. Work Out at Lunch
Similarly, if you make use of your lunch break, you can squeeze in a workout without having to try to make it to the gym after quitting time. An hour-long lunch break can definitely provide enough time for a focused weights workout or a decent walk or jog, and it’s definitely enough time for a super intense HIIT session.
6. Pack Foods from Home
Sitting around all day isn’t the only reason office jobs can encourage weight gain. Our jobs and airtight schedules can also take a toll on our nutrition. When you’re at the office, it’s easy to rely on vending machines, cafeterias or restaurants for food. This often leads to high-calorie, nutrient-poor meals. Instead, try packing your own healthy foods from home. It may take a bit more time, but it will be healthier and cheaper.
One of the last major ways that our jobs can adversely affect our health is by putting an added amount of stress on our lives. Stress has been shown to have negative effects on nearly all aspects of our health, from our sleep and our emotional well-being to our disease-hardiness and our weight-loss efforts. Try to keep perspective while at work, and actively avoid stress.
When difficult deadlines loom, keep a level head. Consider learning some deep breathing strategies or practicing another form of meditation. The calmer you are at work, the more effective you’ll be, and the better you’ll be able to maintain a healthy weight.