Aiming to be a healthier, happier you this year? If so, you’ve probably evaluated your exercise and eating habits, and have put a solid game plan in place for the New Year. But have you considered how your habits at work could make or break your ability to meet your goals?
Here are our top 10 tips for staying healthy and fit throughout the workday:
- Keep healthy snacks within reach. I’d venture to say that office temptations might be the #1 diet saboteur. If you’re office is anything like ours, it’s all: doughnuts and cakes and candy bowls (oh my!) I’ve found that when I have healthy snacks ready and waiting — fruit, nuts, light granola bars — I’m less tempted to seek out the junk food lying around the office.
- Ask for a standing desk. I converted my desk to a standing desk about 6 months ago, and I can’t stop singing its praises. I’ve found that I’m more alert and more energized during the workday, plus I move around a lot more now that I’m always on my feet. While I realize this option may not be possible or ideal in some work environments, it never hurts to ask. If your company can’t (or won’t) spring for a new standing desk for you at the moment, you can always make a poor-man’s standing desk.
- Take the stairs! Sometimes taking the stairs isn’t always feasible — you work on the 20th floor, the stairway access is locked when entering the staircase (pro-tip: means of egress can never be locked – take the stairs DOWN!) or you’re nursing an ailment – but if you can, try to take the stairs to add some extra cardio exercise into your day.
- Grab a larger glass. Larger glass = more liquid. Consuming more liquid = more trips to the restroom. More trips to the restroom = more movement. Win, win, win.
- Take the scenic route. Need to meet with someone down the hall? Take the long loop around the office to get some extra steps in. Need to use the restroom? Go to the one that is the furthest away, or even go to one on a different floor (taking the stairs, of course!).
- Head to the gym at lunch. Studies show that working out in the middle of the day boosts productivity (how can your boss argue with that?), and is a great option if you are not a morning person or tend to have packed evenings. If there isn’t a gym close to your office, aim to take a walk every day at lunch time.
- Stand up and stretch. Many sources say that to stay healthy, you shouldn’t sit for more than an hour at a time. Make sure you give yourself at least 5 minutes of movement for every hour you are sitting. If necessary, set an alarm/reminder to stand up and stretch every hour on the hour, or invest in a fitness tracker that will alert you if you are sedentary for too long.
- Take your meeting on a walk. If you have a one-on-one internal meeting scheduled, suggest taking it on a walk. Sometimes the fresh air will even help to spark inspiration! Just make sure one of you has some kind of note taking device on hand to record action items or new ideas.
- Find a workout buddy. Find someone in your office that has similar goals and fitness interests, and hold each other accountable. It’s much easier (and more fun) to make yourself go for a walk or head to the gym when you have someone to do it with. Plus, you’ll probably think twice about grabbing that second doughnut when your buddy is around.
- Invite others to participate in small wellness “brain breaks” throughout the day. At Matrix, a group of us will gather for 5-10 minutes almost every day to do a few jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, and light stretching. If I were to do those things on my own at my work area, I’m sure my colleagues would think of me as a manic. But when we do those things as a group, it feels much more acceptable and is a LOT of fun. We also have a “stair club” that takes the elevator down to the bottom of the building, and then climbs the 12 flights of stairs back up to the office together. Start something fun at your office. Everyone will love you for it. Promise.
What are your secrets to staying healthy and fit in the workplace?