It’s hardly a surprise, but obesity is on the rise - both in the UK and across the rest of the world. In 2016/17 alone, there were over 617,000 admissions in NHS hospitals where obesity was a factor.
Although the causes of obesity are manifold, busy schedules can often play a role in people’s inability to stay fit and active. If the majority of your working day is spent sat behind a desk, you may find it difficult to keep yourself mobile and active.
However, there is a silver lining to this in that there are a few simple steps you can take to alleviate the boredom and stay fit and in shape at your desk job.
How to increase your activity levels
Walk more. If you use public transport on a daily basis, try and get off one stop before your destination and walk a little bit further. If you drive to work, park at the furthest spot available and walk to the entrance. This extra bit of exercise will increase your cardiovascular fitness and reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. Walking will also help improve bone strength and balance.
Have regular breaks. Get out of your chair every 45 minutes and walk around for just 2 minutes. Take the stairs instead of the lifts when moving between different floors of the building. Consider teaming up with a friend at work to take your breaks together and motivate each other to go for little walks.
Check your posture. Ensure you sit with your back straight and your shoulders back, trying to avoid hunching or bending at the desk. Every hour or so, stretch your neck by looking up, down, left and right. Include rolling your ankles, wrists and shoulders also. These simple stretches will help to prevent conditions such as coral tunnel syndrome and blood clots in the legs.
Watch what you eat
Treat yourself to a meal out just once a week. This will then be something you will look forward to and enjoy a lot more by only having a lunch from outside once during your working week. For the rest of the working week try to save some money and cut down on the calories by packing your own lunch. By doing this you are likely to cut down on your fat, sugar and sodium intake, and it will be less tempting to pick up that cheeky Snickers on the way back to the office!It’s also an idea to bring in some healthy snacks. Carrot sticks or apples are a great choice. Apples are very rich in important antioxidants and dietary fiber. They can help reduce the risk of hypertension and diabetes. You can be creative with your snacks: what I like to do is chop up an apple into cubes, with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of cinnamon powder.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Keep a small water bottle with you so when you finish it you have to get up and refill. This will keep you hydrated and alert for a more productive working day. The recommended daily amount is 2 litres for women and 2.5 litres for men per day.
The guidelines for 19- to 64-year-old adults is to complete 150 minutes (two-and-a-half hours) of moderate aerobic exercise per week. Exercising doesn't have to be seen as a chore. You can join a tennis club or get together with a group of friends to go for regular cycles/walks.
Lower back pain is one of the most common for people with desk jobs who are sitting down the majority of the day. A few simple stretches each day for no more than five to ten minutes for the spine can really make a difference in reducing your chances of developing any back pains. This article from Best Health Magazine has ten great stretches from which you can pick just two or three to do on a daily basis.
Quick fitness hacks for office workers
Don’t know where to start? Here’s a quick and easy checklist for your new office fitness routine.
1) Make time for exercising.
2) Stretch frequently.
3) Get up from your desk every 45 minutes to an hour.
4) Pack healthy lunches.
5) Pick a work buddy to stay motivated with.
And last but not least...
6) Have fun staying active!
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