Working life can be very bad for your health. As any office worker will testify, sitting for 8 hours a day in front of a flickering computer screen can lead to problems as varied as eye strain, repetitive strain injury, back pain and stiff joints.
However, weight gain is probably the number one health issue caused by sedentary working lives. Not only do workers sit and stare at their terminals for hours, they often graze on snacks and calorific drinks throughout the day. Putting on weight becomes a hard habit to break. Fortunately, there are many easy ways for office workers to keep themselves trim and maintain their cardio-vascular fitness.
Use A Fitness Tracker To Monitor Your Activity
Technology isn’t your enemy when trying to lose weight. In fact, the new generation of wearable fitness trackers is a key ally. If you regularly wear a tracking device, you can record exactly how far you walk every day. If your activity levels start to drop, you can take action, and you can get a good idea of your baseline physical activity before you start a workout regimen.
Fitness trackers also help you to step up your activity. Start from your baseline – whether it’s a distance covered, a number of steps or calories burned. Then, gradually increase your activity, keeping a record of your progress as you go.
Simplify Your Working Life To Avoid Stress
One of the reasons that office workers gain weight is because of stress. Working in an unfriendly, pressurized environment can lead to psychological problems that cause individuals to over-eat or drink alcohol after the day is finished.
Being stressed out or depressed also makes it far harder to motivate yourself to take the action needed to lose weight. Whether it is dragging yourself up for a morning run or hitting the gym in the evening, when you are depressed it’s tough to make the effort required.
If you can’t make your job less stressful – focus on relaxing outside the workplace. Take a spa break, try some new sports, and find time to spend with friends and family. Cutting your working hours tends to help too, although in hyper-competitive working environments, this isn’t always easy.
Get Your Diet Right To Shed Those Pounds
The key to successful weight loss is a combination of physical exercise and a good, balanced diet. Don’t be too harsh on yourself by cutting out everything you enjoy eating. There is no point in radically restricting your calorie intake if this cannot be maintained. Instead, take a rational, gradual approach and find a diet that works for you.
Many office workers find it hard to buy healthy lunches, but if you cut out burgers, fries and cakes, your weight loss task will be much easier. Experiment with bringing your own food in from home. If you cook for yourself, it is far easier to control your calories and nutrients.
You might also benefit from using smartphone apps that formulate scientific diet plans. They can make recipe suggestions which taste good but limit the amount of calories on offer. Some apps are also specially designed to combine with fitness trackers – ensuring that you have enough energy to workout, but without taking on too many calories to lose weight.
Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
This is crucial for people who spend most of their time sitting at desks and don’t have a history of physical exercise. At first, when you start to run or swim, it won’t be easy. Dieting isn’t easy either, despite what the manuals might suggest. There isn’t a magic bullet, but that doesn’t mean you won’t succeed.
If you rely on snacking to get you through the day, don’t worry too much and don’t go cold turkey. Try to replace the least healthy snacks that you eat with wholesome alternatives. For example, candy bars can be swapped for nuts or fruits. The key is to avoid losing heart, and to maintain steady progress towards a healthier lifestyle.
Come Up With A Realistic Workout Regimen
If you work 50 hours a week in a cubicle, you probably won’t be an Olympic athlete, so don’t feel that you have to exercise like one. When they hit the gym to build muscle and fight their flab, office workers often go too hard, too soon. This leads to injuries and frustration.
Find time for basic exercises to start with. This could be a 30 minute walk to work, a jog around the park at lunch or 20 laps of the pool in the evening. Fitness trackers can help to suggest the best beginners’ workouts, but remember to be cautious. Your muscles will need to get used to physical activity, and you need to find a routine that is sustainable.
Making little lifestyle changes can go a long way as well. Take the stairs a few times a week, instead of instinctively entering the elevator. Get off the subway or bus a couple of stops early, or walk to a slightly more distant sandwich joint at lunch (and ideally order something ultra-healthy when you get there).
Office workers can avoid becoming overweight by taking control of their lifestyle in every area – from diet and exercise to mood and attitude. Success in losing weight is more about how you approach it, than what you eat or how you exercise. This particularly applies if you are an office employee who has been out of shape for a while.
Never become disheartened – a slimmer body, better health and a happier outlook can be achieved no matter how sedentary your job is.