How to Stay in Shape at a Desk Job

Young businesswoman eating lunch at desk
Lack of exercise is a common predicament for people with busy desk jobs. (Image: Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Obesity is on the rise in America and the rest of the world. Busy schedules often play a big role in peoples’ inability to stay fit. If you spend most of your weekdays sitting behind a desk, you may find it challenging to keep yourself mobile and active at work. However, the good news is that with a few simple steps, you can alleviate boredom, make more friends and stay in shape at a desk job.

Increase Your Activity Levels

Step 1

Walk a few extra blocks during your daily commute. If you take public transportation, consider using a stop that is a few blocks away from your home, so that you have to walk to take the bus or train. Do the same on your return journey to get several minutes of exercise daily. If you drive to work, park your car at the furthest spot and walk to the entrance.

Step 2

Get out of your chair every 30 minutes or so and walk around for a couple of minutes. If you want to talk to a colleague, go to his desk instead of making a phone call or sending an email. If you need to move around in the building, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Consider teaming up with a friend at work to take regular breaks for exercise and to motivate each other.

Step 3

Use facilities such as the gym or swimming pool if you have one available close to work. Dedicate your lunch hour to some form of physical activity. In the absence of fitness facilities, you can always take a walk in the neighborhood or go up and down the stairs if the weather is unfavorable.

Step 4

Check your posture and ensure that you sit erect with your shoulder back. Avoid hunching or bending at the desk. You can perform several simple stretches and exercises throughout the day on your seat. Stretch your neck by looking up, down, left and right. Roll your wrists, ankles and shoulders every hour or so. This will prevent conditions such as the carpal tunnel syndrome and blood clots in the legs. Work your abdomen and gluteus by contracting the muscles, holding and then releasing repeatedly. You can also perform Kegel exercises throughout the day to strengthen the pelvic muscles.

Watch What You Eat

Step 1

Save money and cut down on the calories by packing your own lunch. Reserve the trips to fast food joints and restaurants for special occasions. By limiting your intake of restaurant meals, you can also cut down on sodium, sugar and fat. You are also less likely to give in to temptation and grab dessert if you do not eat out.

Step 2

Stay away from the vending machine and bring small snacks to work. Some healthy choices are apples, baby carrots and fat-free yogurt. Cravings are common, especially in the afternoon. To combat the cravings and avoid overeating, keep a few small packets of nuts or 100-calorie packs of cookies or chips at your desk and restrict yourself to a pack a day.

Step 3

Drink plenty of water throughout the day and refill your bottle or glass by walking to the refill area. This keeps you alert and hydrated throughout the day. Water also makes you feel full and prevents premature hunger and cravings.

Things You'll Need

  • Comfortable shoes

  • Water bottle or glass

  • Healthy snacks

  • Homemade lunch

Tip

Do morning workouts before heading off to work, minimizing the likelihood of skipping evening exercise sessions.

Warning

Check with your doctor prior to beginning a new or more difficult exercise routine.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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