If you’re like many people, odds are pretty good that you recently made a few resolutions for the new year ahead. More often than not, these pledges include dropping a few pounds and doing what you can to get more physically fit. However, no matter how earnest your intentions and how firm your resolve, you might come to think that the entire world is conspiring against you – especially at the office.
Maybe it’s the relative inactivity (even if you work out on a regular basis) or the temptation you face from that well-meaning, extremely generous person who is always bringing in enough donuts for everyone, or maybe it’s just the constant lure of the vending machine. The fact is, typical life at the office isn’t exactly conducive to the success of your fitness regimen. We’re not going to lie and say there is an easy fix, but there are ways to minimize the impact of a largely sedentary workday, giving you more energy, minimizing those mid-afternoon crashes, and maybe even allowing you to live longer!
Here are just a few:
1. Brief – but frequent – activity goes a very long way
One basic goal of most fitness programs is to get your heart rate up, but you don’t have to run a marathon to achieve that. Even a minor increase in physical activity reaps big dividends. Do you have a meeting scheduled with a colleague? Unless the agenda absolutely requires sitting at a conference table while someone scribbles on a whiteboard, you could instead choose to make it a “walk-and-talk” meeting. Stroll the hallways. Head outside on a nice day. Do you spend a big part of your day talking on the phone? Get yourself a wireless headset so you can get up and walk around. The goal is simply to get the blood flowing again. You’ll be amazed at how this small effort can help curb your appetite as well as help your mind focus. Doing little things like allowing yourself frequent small breaks to walk around a bit will help moderate spikes in blood sugar, something proven to have enormous health benefits.
2. Establish some easy routines to follow
Sometimes you just have to think small and set up a few routine habits. See that drink on your desk? Use a smaller container so you have to keep standing up to get a refill. The few seconds “lost” refreshing your drink isn’t likely to hurt your work schedule, but it could very well have a huge impact on your health. Waiting for a big file to download? Colleagues late for a meeting? Is that video conference being delayed by a few stragglers who haven’t yet joined the call? Get up and stretch! Do you fidget when idle? Get yourself a few toys for your desk. Resistance bands, squeeze balls, and even dumbbells can be put to good use when you need to burn off a little nervous energy. Better yet, take up desk yoga! It’s especially helpful for your back and neck, relieving sore muscles and making it easier to be more active!
3. Spend a few bucks on ergonomics
If the budget allows, you could make a modest investment in your health by purchasing some ergonomic furniture and accessories. Desk bikes, ball chairs, kneeling chairs, and standing stools and desks can make a huge difference in your physical – and psychological – well-being. So can under-desk stair steppers, ergonomic footstools, arm exercisers, and hand exercisers. Even of your budget won’t allow much, you can DIY something pretty quickly out of things you already have available to you.
4. Whenever possible, ditch the interoffice email and chat sessions
Perhaps the most productive tip we have for both your personal health and your business productivity is to avoid – wherever possible – using email and online chats to discuss things with your colleagues down the hall. Instead of giving your keyboard a workout, get up and walk to their office, cubicle, or wherever they happen to be. Even if it’s the cafeteria, you can take the opportunity to grab yourself a drink of water or piece of fruit. This allows you to speak face-to-face about whatever it was you were about to type, and chances are pretty good that you will be more productive and come to more effective solutions more quickly than you would had you restricted yourself to your desk. Besides, you also get a chance to get up and walk around, minimizing the odds of a host of negative issues impacting your overall health.
Do any of these tips strike a chord with you? Do you have any to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.
In the meantime, good luck with all of your resolutions – no matter what they may be.
We’re all rooting for you!