We’ve all been there. You dive into a busy morning with emails, phone calls and meetings, and suddenly you look at the clock and realize you haven’t gotten out of your chair for hours. It’s easy to let the days slip away from us, especially with a hectic schedule in PR. Three years ago, I wasn’t happy with my health and decided to do a nutrition and exercise overhaul. While I found my way back to a healthy diet, forced myself into running, and fell in love with CrossFit, I still found myself challenged to stay active during work. This often left me drained at the end of the day. So, I found some basic tips to help better achieve a balance that’s been both beneficial to my mental and physical wellbeing as well as my job productivity.
- Take hourly breaks. Less time spent moving means worse posture, more eye strain and other general health issues associated with being sedentary. Try to take a 5-10-minute walk when you are on your way to a meeting or the bathroom, or even just stroll around the office to get moving at least once an hour.
- Go out for lunch. That doesn’t mean you can’t pack food from home if you are trying to save money or don’t have time for an hour sit down meal. Bring your lunch to an outside space (or inside if it’s cold/raining) that’s a short distance away from your desk. Bring a work friend so he/she can stay active too! And, you’ll likely come back with more afternoon energy.
- Stand when possible. That alone is enough to prevent catabolism. Follow the same rule as your hourly breaks, with 5-10 minutes per hour standing if you don’t have time to go for a walk. Stretch during this time if you can for added benefit. If you don’t have a standing desk, feel free to get creative with tables, boxes, etc.
- Have walking meetings. Desk jobs have a serious side effect on all our bodies, so encourage your colleagues to come along for walking meetings. Even if you work out religiously it’s still not enough to combat the desk chair side-effects. Intermittent exercise will help prevent your muscles from breaking down and feel like a productive break from cube land. If you track your progress with a pedometer or even your phone, every mini-walk counts toward the recommended 10,000 daily steps.
- Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Water will help boost your energy and metabolism throughout the day and give you more momentum for a quick stroll (not to mention it’s digestive, weight, hydration, skin, etc. benefits). Keep a measured water bottle on your desk as a reminder to chug away throughout the day – back to the basics with a minimum of 8 glasses.