Staying fit with an office job can be incredibly difficult. In fact, long working hours at an office job is a single factor that has several impacts on the rise of obesity rates on adults in the United States. In general, as working hours at an office job increase for adults in the United States, so does the probability of becoming obese (Mercan, 2013).
Working longer hours at an office job impacts obesity rates for multiple reasons. One of the main reasons that working longer hours is associated with increased obesity rates is because it increases sedentary and sitting time, which is also related to increases in obesity risk (Lin et al., 2015). Along with obesity, sitting too much can cause several other health problems.
Sitting too much restricts blood flow throughout the body, puts a ton of pressure on your spine, hurts your digestive system, and causes several other health issues. For example, females are prone to developing fibroids and require fibroid treatment in their middle-ages from a lifetime of sitting too much at an office job.
Another example is known as “Foggy brain”, which occurs when your perceptions due to a lack of movement.
However, there are plenty of health tips for office workers that can combat the negative effects of sitting too much and help you look and feel better!
The Best Health Tips for Office Workers
As an office worker who wants to get healthy and stay healthy, your goal should be to increase the amount you move daily while planning your diet and lifestyle around the fact you will be sitting for several hours at work each day.
Here are the best health tips for office workers:
Make Sure You Get Enough Exercise Each Week
To combat the issues faced by office workers, the primary change is that office workers should take the initiative to reduce sitting time while working. Even short amounts of standing and moving while working a sedentary job can make a difference for many adults.
Working long hours reduces the likelihood that adults will engage in physical activity, and engaging in regular physical activity is an evidence-based approach to mitigating the risk of becoming obese (Jakicic et al., 2019). Moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity that is performed for over 150 minutes per week makes a significant impact on the risk of becoming obese, and having lower working hours allows for more time to complete this amount of physical activity.
Furthermore, increases in physical activity, even without body composition changes (i.e. weight loss), can produce changes in an individuals risk factor for developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, along with all-cause mortality (Hainer et al., 2009).
Although it may seem difficult, you should do your best to exercise as much as possible. If you don’t want to go to a fitness center or a gym, that’s fine! You can set up a home gym, or even get fit without going to the gym by doing outdoor activities!
Although there are tons of different forms of exercise that you can do to improve your health as an office worker, the most time-saving form of exercise is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
HIIT can easily burn all the calories you need and help you build lean muscle mass in 30 minutes or less of training time per day.
This will leave more time in your schedule to do additional activities or just to live a normal life.
Start and End Your Day with Yoga:
A great form of exercise for people with office jobs is to start and end your day with yoga. You don’t have to do long yoga sessions unless you want to or have time to, but taking 15-20 minutes after you wake up and before you go to sleep will make an enormous impact on your overall health as an office worker.
For those who have to sit at a desk for 6-7 hours per day, starting and ending your day with yoga can significantly improve the health of your back, hips, and overall body.
Additionally, although yoga is not necessarily a great form of exercise for building muscle, there are certain types of yoga that are great for losing weight and improving your cardiovascular health. You can check out this 21 Day Yoga Shred Review to see a type of yoga that can help you lose weight.
Furthermore, practicing yoga will help you reduce the mental stress of your job. Lastly, practicing yoga will help you sleep better at night
Practicing yoga at the beginning and end of your day is a simple way to improve your physical and mental health as an office worker!
If Possible, Use a Standing Desk
If you are an office worker, one of the best decisions you can make for yourself is to use a standing desk if it is available or if you can purchase one yourself. Desk Advisor is a useful resource if you want to consider getting a standing desk.
Using a standing desk will alleviate a lot of the back problems associated with sitting too much, and it will also help you burn more calories throughout your day.
According to a study published in Preventing Chronic Disease, reducing the time spent sitting for a group of office workers each day by only 66 minutes reduced upper back and neck pain by 54%, and improved mood.
For even better results, you can get a treadmill desk at work.
Do Some Periodic Stretching At Work
Whether you decide to get a standing desk or not, one of the best health tips for office workers is to do some periodic stretching while at work.
In between meetings or daily tasks, there are plenty of stretches you can do at your desk space.
If you are sitting in your desk chair or armchair, a simple torso twist from left to right is effective at loosening your upper body without having to physically move anywhere.
Standing up and doing a simple fold to touch your fold can loosen your hamstrings and lower back. If you are doing your yoga in the morning and at night you will already be more flexible, and doing just a few stretches every time you have a free minute at your desk can be a huge help.
Always Carry Healthy Snacks
I haven’t talked about nutrition much yet, but one of the best health tips for office workers is to make sure that you always carry healthy snacks.
If you struggle with snacking throughout the day, I suggest that you try carrying almonds, peanuts, or sunflower seeds. These types of healthy snacks will help control your appetite and help you get to lunch time or the end of your day easier.
One of my favorite health on-the-go snacks is the Redd Bar. Keeping snacks like the Redd Bar, nuts, or seeds will reduce your overall calorie intake while providing valuable vitamins and minerals that are necessary for keeping your body healthy!
Learn to Cook Quick Recipes:
As the conventional nuclear family concept is changing and more women are working outside of the home and working longer hours, less meals are being cooked and consumed in the home, and more “fast-food” options are consumed throughout the country. Adults are in a challenging situation as working longer hours is often necessary to keep up with monetary needs, but meal planning during free time and finding ways to consume more home-cooked meals can have a positive impact on reducing obesity rates in the United States.
Ordering healthy food from restaurants is often expensive, but it is crucial that the main part of your diet consist of healthy foods. Since you are spending a lot of time at work, and it is likely that you will be tired when you get home each day, it is important that you learn to cook quick recipes that you can make without spending too much time in the kitchen.
This will save you money and help improve your health.
One of the easiest ways to pack essential nutrients into your daily meals is to prepare a soup or stew in a slow cooker, InstaPot, or a pressure cooker, and bring it with you to your place of work each day.
Slow cooker meals can easily last you 4 to 5 days and will be full of vitamins and minerals that you wouldn’t normally consume.
An easy slow cooker recipe which you can bring with you to work could be a soup with chicken, potatoes, carrots, onions, peas, and quinoa.
This soup is instantly full of nearly all vitamins and minerals you need, and can easily be brought to your place of work in a container! Adding fresh spices to this adds other health benefits as well!
I highly suggest that you add as many vegan protein sources as possible because they will provide your body the most nutrients and increase your metabolism.
When making slow cooker soups, don’t be afraid to add too many ingredients! You can easily make your soup or stew hearty by loading it up with various vegetables, and you will certainly be full enough to get you through your workday!
Borscht is a great option for this.
There are several easy kitchen hacks that can help you prepare quick recipes so you can eat healthy and nutritious food every day.
Take Advantage of Your Company’s Workplace Wellness Program
Most company’s have a workplace wellness program because they increase productivity and if not, they are more likely to deal with a workers’ compensation claim due to the unhealthy lifestyle of their employees. Although science has not exactly confirmed whether or not these programs actually work, it is likely that they are very effective.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association,
“Employees exposed to a workplace wellness program reported significantly greater rates of some positive health behaviors compared with those who were not exposed, but there were no significant effects on clinical measures of health, health care spending and utilization, or employment outcomes after 18 months.”
Get a Massage
Getting a massage is a great way to improve both your physical and mental health. According to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine,
“Massage therapy may be effective for the treatment of chronic back pain, with benefits lasting at least 6 months.”
Although many people do not have the time or money to consistently go for full-body massages, it might be possible for you to get workplace massage therapy at your office!
Lastly, it is possible to get a home massage chair so you can relax and et a massage every day after work, although this is a much more expensive option.
Just a 10 minute massage can make a huge difference!
Take a Break
It is often easy for office workers to fall into the habit of working too much and failing to let their minds and body rest.
Workaholics seem to forget that a break not only helps them to rest from work but also to rejuvenate the body and the mind.
Sometimes, even if you love your job, taking a vacation is one of the most important aspects of having a healthy work – life relationship. According to a research study published in Stress & Health,
“Partial correlations and regression analyses showed that employees reported higher H&W during vacation, the more relaxed and psychologically detached they felt, the more time they spent on conversations with the partner, the more pleasure they derived from their vacation activities and the lower the number of negative incidents during vacation. Experiences of relaxation and detachment from work positively influenced H&W even after returning home.”
Unfortunately, not everyone gets as much vacation time as necessary. So, even if it’s only for a day, find a way to take a break once in a while for the benefit of your overall health and performance at work!
Concluding Thoughts – How to Stay Fit at a Desk Job
If you work an office job, this does not mean that you can’t have the body you want.
We understand it is nearly impossible for many of you to take out time for yourself when you have to work most of the day. Most of the tips suggested will not take more than an hour per day.
Some people have an easier path since their day job involves more moving around, but there are still plenty of options for workplace wellness. Investing a little time in your well-being each day will keep you fit and healthy for a long time!
Use these tips to improve your health, regardless of the number of hours you sit in an office each day!