I have two questions for you:
- How long have you been working?
- How different is your weight on day 1 and today?
This may sound rude for others, but many office workers gained weight over the years of working.
Some might even joke that your salary is directly proportional to your waistline. So as your income increases, so does your belly.
Humans are created to be active. This is evident in the way our body is structured. So sitting down on hours straight is dangerous to one’s health.
Unfortunately, even with the knowledge and scientific facts showing that we need to move more, we are most likely tied to our desk in front of a computer.
So here are some of the actions I do to be more active during workdays and burn those calories away.
1. Skip the Elevator
This may be the most obvious one. If your office is less than four floors, avoid using the elevator and take the stairs instead.
This may take a while before you get the hang of it, but after several months, you will feel the difference.
You will have more stamina and will not be embarrassed if your athletic crush miraculously invites you to a hike.
2. Squat Breaks
Sitting for long hours makes your hips, butt, and backache. So a good way to remedy this is by doing the old-fashioned squats.
It is not so common for employees doing squats in the office because of the posture accompanying it. A way to do this, without being seen or laughed at by your officemates, is inside a restroom cubicle.
Every time you go to the restroom, use the cubicle (yes, including you guys) and just do 10 quick squats. This may be hard at first, but it is worth it.
After being comfortable with your squats, try adding more squats every week, from 10 to 15, then 20. While adding variations like one-legged squats, plie squats, or sumo squats.
3. Count your steps
Many fitness sites (since there are still no official recommendations) suggest a step count for an average adult to 10,000 steps per day. But most office employees are already struggling to get to 5,000 a day.
By consciously counting your steps, you will have a goal to aim throughout the day. Many devices can do it for you, such as a pedometer, Fitbit, smartwatches, and even your phone has apps to count your steps.
Start small by targeting at least 3,000 on your first month before gradually increasing it until you can walk the target 10,000 daily steps.
4. Invite your co-workers for a Fitness Challenge
Many of us are born competitors and love to take on challenges. With this in mind, try inviting your friends to a fitness challenge such as most flights of stairs reached or most steps walked in a week, cut-off or month.
Keep a tally. Then, at the end of a period, the last placer will need to treat the rest of the group for a Starbucks cup. This will keep everyone competitive.
5. Walk a part of your commute
Office workers, especially managerial officers, own a car for work. But for many of us, using public transportation is the only way to go.
One way to increase your fitness, while saving a few bucks in the process, is to walk a certain distance before waiting for a ride.
By doing this, you don’t need to stand in a long queue near your office. It also increases your chance of being able to ride earlier because some passengers will alight several meters from the bus/jeepney stop.
You may also walk the opposite direction and towards another bus stop where more seats are available. But if you have enough energy (because you are not challenged by your job), try walking your way home once in a while. Just be sure to use walking shoes/sandals to avoid wear and tear damage to your office footwear, and make sure to take the safest route.
Sore shoulders, back, and arms? Try stretching now and then. You may use a timer to remind you to stretch those muscles.
Many stretches can be done even while sitting.
7. Take a longer route where ever you will go
In Physics, we were taught that electricity travels to the path of least resistance. Taking some part of that theory and reversing it will be one way to be more active.
Instead of walking straight to your desk, take a detour to greet a friend, glimpse at your crush ;), or just take a loop before settling in your seat.
You may also try placing your trashcan farther away or use the restroom on the opposite end of the floor.
Others might call you a ‘supervisor’ but just ignore them. This is for your health. Better yet, try inviting them instead.
8. Use a smaller tumbler
Drinking water is essential. It keeps you hydrated to function throughout the day. So, it is common to have a tumbler beside you.
Replacing your 1L tumbler with a 350mL bottle will force you to walk to the pantry more often.
9. Walk to your colleague instead of sending an email/IM
Need to ask someone something important? Try to go to his/her desk and ask it personally. This will save you some time and make you walk a few meters at a time.
This is only applicable if you don’t need an email thread.
In summary, being active while in the office is very important. It may be challenging but not impossible.
It will save your health in the long run. This is especially so if you are a corporate slave — seated 8 hours a day.
There are so many ways to do this, and those listed are only the things that I do. You can add more if you can.