How to Stay Fit When You Have a Sedentary Job

6 Ways to Turn Around Your Sedentary Lifestyle

6 Tips to losing weight or staying in shape when you have a sedentary job.
Are you sitting down most of the day, watching TV at night? If that describes your lifestyle most days, these tips were made for you!

Whether you spend your days in front of a computer or can’t move around much in your daily life, your sedentary schedule may be impacting you more than you realize. Or, perhaps you understand that your inactivity during your workday is causing you to not look or feel your best, yet you don’t know what to do about it.


Either way, you do have options that will help you improve your fitness levels despite being desk or office bound.  But first, you need to understand why making changes to your sedentary job is important and needs to happen right away.


The Health Consequences of a Sedentary Job


According to the National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability, living a sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to your health. For instance, they report that physically inactive people have a 40% higher risk of developing cancer in the colon or breasts and a 50% higher rate of dementia. Being sedentary also increases the rate at which you lose muscle and bone strength, as well as raises the possibility that you’ll suffer from depression.


They further state that for every two hours you spend sitting daily, your type-2 diabetes risk factor goes up by 14%, as does your risk of other serious medical conditions like heart attack and stroke. For these reasons, it is imperative that you stay fit, even if you have a job that doesn’t require or allow much movement, or you may find yourself with unwanted or life-threatening health problems.


The Effects on Your Weight


Obviously, spending your work days being inactive also impacts your weight, which is largely responsible for a majority of the health problems we just discussed. The less you move during the course of your day the larger your waistline becomes, and the more miserable you feel.


Losing weight is hard enough, but add the inability to move around all day into the mix and you may feel like the odds of achieving a slim and trim body are rather small. So what can you do to get yourself in better shape without finding a new line of work?


How to Stay Fit Without Looking for New Employment


Luckily, you don’t have to quit your job and face the unemployment lines just to overcome the obstacles of having an inactive job. You can simply make a few small, yet necessary, changes to your work-related lifestyle and you’ll see some amazing progress – both mentally and physically.


Here are just a few to consider:


Use your office as a gym. Just because you work in an office setting doesn’t mean that you should use it as an excuse to be sedentary. Opportunities exist all around you to burn more calories; you just have to look for them.


For example, you can perform several exercises without ever leaving your chair. It is easy enough to do leg lifts to exercise your thighs, or raise 1-5 pound weights overhead while sitting to work your upper body. Or, if your building has stairs, run or walk them during lunches and breaks, or every time you go to the bathroom. Be creative with the things around you and see what you can come up with.


To keep motivated, grab a coworker and have them run the stairs or walk around the building with you. That way, you will hold each other accountable while building a friendship at the same time.


Schedule before or after work exercise sessions. In addition to finding ways to get active without leaving the office, you’ll also receive great benefits to having regularly scheduled exercise sessions outside of work. This will allow you to release all of your pent up energy, while whittling your waist at the same time.


Before work, you may want to use exercise equipment you have at home to start your day on a positive note, or perhaps it’s an option to walk or bike to work or walk with co-workers after work. After your day is complete, catch up with some of your pals over a game of tennis or while enjoying a fitness class together. You can satisfy your social and physical needs and get into shape too!


Eat healthy lunches. Another way to undo some of the damage of sedentary work is to make sure you don’t eat more calories than your body needs. This will lessen the effects of a desk bound job and give you greater control over your health.


Instead of going out for lunch every day, pack your own and bring it with you. This will make it easier to eat healthfully instead of giving in to higher fat options because you need something quick and easy.


Also, choose foods that energize you and make it easier to increase your activity levels throughout the workday. Some great options are salads that have a protein in them (like chicken, boiled eggs, and nuts), sandwiches made with lean meats and served on whole grain bread with extra lettuce and tomato, and cottage cheese with fruit and sliced almonds.


Set designated eating areas. When you spend all day sitting down, it can be very easy to snack your way to health risks and obesity. You may grab a handful of chips to get you through your afternoon lull or snatch a candy every time you pass the dish on your coworker’s desk. It may not seem like a lot, but it definitely adds up over time.


That is why it helps to set up a designated eating area at your office so you don’t mindlessly snack on foods that aren’t good for you or grab something just because it is there. Make your desk off limits and bypass the candy dishes around you, choosing to eat only while sitting in the break area. This alone will save you hundreds, if not thousands, of extra calories over a period of time.


Pay attention to what you drink. Just as what you eat is important to your health and fitness levels, so too is what you drink. If you’re accustomed to starting your work days with a high-carb breakfast, for instance, your breakfast can make the effects of your sedentary job even worse.


Instead, start your days with a protein, a good carb, and a healthy fat, like an egg, an apple, and a handful of almonds, or a scoop of cottage cheese, a piece of whole grain toast, and a spoonful of peanut butter. This combination of foods to begin your day will fuel your body and help prevent acute hunger pangs before lunchtime.  Coffee and tea are okay as long as you don’t overdo what you add to them.


In regard to soda, it isn’t good for you. Period. Not even diet soda. Studies repeatedly show the negative effects of consuming low or no-calorie soda, some of which include cloudy thinking, increased aches and pains, and even weight gain due to the sugar cravings that artificial sweeteners create, as well as overcompensating with food because you’re drinking a “diet” beverage.


The best thing you can do for yourself is drink lots of water. This will keep you energized and alert, as well as give your blood and organs the hydration they need to function effectively and efficiently.


Keep a bottle by you at all times, refilling it when necessary. If you’d like a bit of flavor added to give it some pizzazz, simply put a lemon or orange quarter in it, or add a few slices of cucumber and mint.


Watch your posture. At the end of your work day, do your neck and shoulders feel sore and achy? Do you have frequent headaches or suffer from a lot of gastrointestinal issues? If so, your posture may be to blame.


Your spine holds all of the nerves that go from your brain to your extremities and organs. Therefore, if one is pinched off because you’re not sitting or standing properly, you may find yourself with some serious health issues that you may not feel before it’s too late. Issues that you could have fully prevented simply by making sure you had proper posture.


To keep your back healthy, sit and stand tall with your shoulders back and your head straight. Don’t lean forward to see the computer screen and don’t slouch in your chair either as both of these postures can create a lot of current and future problems.


Pull your pelvis in slightly and hold in your tummy. This will allow your central nervous system to fully communicate, allowing you to enjoy fewer (if any) additional problems.


Having a sedentary job doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your weight or health. Follow these suggestions, and come up with a few of your own, and it won’t!



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