Most of us college graduates end up working at a desk job, eight to ten hours a day. If you’re familiar with the freshman fifteen, maybe you aren’t as familiar with the full-time forty. It’s important to stay active so you don’t continually pile on the pounds and before you know it, you can’t even squeeze a leg into your skinny jeans.
The office can be a trap. With living a sedentary weekday lifestyle, it’s very easy to gain weight. A caramel latte here, a donut there, someone bakes a cake for the director’s birthday, pizza is served for monthly training meetings and before you know it, you’ve gained 20+ pounds! Not only are we sitting more during our work day, but we’re under more stress. And, sitting all day, keeping all that stress bottled up inside, is not good for you mentally or physically.
Just because you work in an office doesn’t mean you have to sit on your rump all day. Here’s a guide to squeezing in sporadic exercise throughout your day to make sure you’ll still be able to squeeze in those skinny jeans:
1. Move every hour. It’s important to keep your body limber and move as much as possible. Get up and get some water (which you should drink plenty of water all day anyways!), go talk to a co-worker or if you’re feeling REALLY frisky, do some stair laps. Stair laps are a great way to blast calories during the day. You can burn about 100 calories by doing 10 minutes of stair laps. Having a stressed day? I guarantee if you do 10 minutes of stair laps, you will feel incredibly relieved and re-energized.
2. Watch your calories. A sedentary lifestyle means you don’t get the luxury of eating whatever you want, whenever you want. When I was a waitress, I could eat anything and I wouldn’t gain an ounce; it was actually hard for me to put on weight. That’s because I was on my feet for five or more hours a day, running around like a chicken with its head cut off, which burns hundreds of calories. However, if you’re sitting all day, it’s important to calculate your BMR and keep your calories around this number.
There are many tools online to help you calculate your BMR and the amount of calories needed to maintain your current weight. Your BMR is your basal metabolic rate and it’s the amount of calories your body burns at rest—it’s the amount of calories your body needs for basic functions like regulating your body temperature, keeping your heart beating and digesting your food. If you were to sit all day long, this is the amount of calories you’d need to stay your current weight.
3. Work-out on your lunch break. Even if you can only squeeze in a 20 minute workout, it’s better than nothing. If you don’t have access to a gym at work, go on a walk after you eat lunch. This also helps with digestion and will help you feel less bloated from sitting all day.
4. When possible, turn your meetings into walking meetings. Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to meet in a conference room and have a formal meeting or give a presentation. However, if you aren’t giving a formal presentation or have a conference call, walk with your co-workers instead. If you need to sit and take notes, bring a pad of paper and have a stopping point maybe in a park, store or mall that you can jot down some notes or action items. It only takes about 15 minutes to walk a mile if you walk at a brisk pace (3.5-4.0 mph). If you make two of your daily meetings a walking meeting, that’s about 200 calories burned!
5. Invest in a standing desk and stability ball. Every. Little. Bit. Helps. Standing vs. sitting burns more calories because you are engaging your muscles, including your gluteus maximus, which is the biggest muscle in your body! You know what doesn’t engage your gluteus? Sitting! Now don’t get me wrong, just because you stand half of your day doesn’t mean you should go out and eat cheeseburgers and French fries. Standing is better than sitting, but it’s not an end all, be all—you still need to exercise outside of your work day, especially if you want to lose weight.
A stability ball helps to engage your abs and back muscles. When we sit all day, these muscles start to turn to jelly and become weak—because we aren’t using them AT ALL. A stability ball is easy to use and cheap. Try not to get too distracted by the urge to bounce around though; it is tempting!
Taking these small steps during your workday should help you stay a healthy and happy weight. Even with walking for 30 minutes and doing stair laps for 10 minutes, that’s 300 calories burned each day!
What are some ways you incorporate exercise in during your work day?
Photo courtesy of HMS326.