Monday, August 15, 2011

How to be healthy and still work at your desk job

Do you spend the majority of your day sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen? Most American’s climb out of bed every morning, ride to work in a car or bus, sit at a desk all day, ride back home, and relax on the couch after dinner.

50 years ago 40% of jobs required moderate exertion, today it is less than 20%. Due to our technological advances more American’s are sitting at a desk job, which means fewer calories are burned = higher rates of obesity. Employers aren’t ignoring these numbers, especially when it means their employees are going to need more insurance coverage to cover health care costs. Many employers are now offering exercise ball chairs, TrekDesks, building gyms/work out centers in the building or offering discounted gym memberships to local fitness centers. Here at the University (my job), they offer incentive ($65/test) to take a personal health assessments every 6 months, which is basically an online assessment of your current health state. Based on how you rate determines the “educational materials” they provide you. For example, I was told to incorporate more grains and fruits into my diet – more on that later.

5 Tips on how to get out of the sedentary pool filled with the other 80% of American’s:

         Eat a good breakfast
         This will keep you from snacking mid-morning at your desk. Be sure to fill up on fats and proteins, they will “stick to your gut.” Every morning I have 1 egg and if there is time a sausage patty – scrumptious and filling. This keeps me energized until late afternoon and many times to dinner. Not a fan of lunch, but if I’m hungry I will eat a salad and/or tuna.


           Take breaks!
         Get away from your desk a few times a day. Oftentimes, it can be an escape to get away from the stress of the job you are working on and refresh your mind. You can walk to get coffee, tea, water or whatever just so long as you get up and get moving – even if it is only for 10 minutes.


          Walk over your lunch
         If you have time to do a quit work out and clean up before your lunch is over, go for it. Every day I walk my dog over lunch. Not only is it good for him to get out of his crate space and stretch his legs, but for me to get out of my cube and stretch mine. Just getting away from the office and getting to go home and walk the dog outside on a beautiful day is such a stress reliever and really helps put me back into a good mood to finish the day. Plus this counts for moving frequently at a slow pace (Primal Blueprint).

           Bring lunch to work
         By preparing the meal yourself, you are in charge of what goes into it. Who knows what that chicken breast has been sitting in and for how long at the cafeteria. This way you know how fresh and well prepared your food is – and it is cheaper! You aren’t tempted by the less healthy options around you and the costs of going out to eat every day add up quickly. Instead, bring in leftovers from dinner (easy preparation) or grab something quick that morning. My go to is a tuna packet (if I get hungry for lunch) – instant protein, next to 0 carbs, and I just throw it in my purse in the morning.

 Take a nap
         If you have 15-20 minutes over lunch or get a 2nd afternoon break, take a power nap. This helps to avoid sugar snacking, fancy lattes, and gives an energy boost to press on through the rest of the day. This is crucial for me; otherwise, like clockwork I would be at the java house getting an espresso cooler. So whenever I get the opportunity I get a quick power nap in to keep me going and avoid crashes. However, since I went Primal, my afternoon crashes have significantly reduced over the 11 weeks.

So don’t fall into the 6.5% of Americans that don’t meet the CDC’s minimum physical activity guidelines just because you work at a desk. Get up and get moving!

How do you stay active throughout the day?