Things you can do when your day job requires little activity to support your health

I wanted to write a post about things people can do that supports their health when working in an office and sit still for most of the time, but then realised that because of Covid-19 I also had to add “working from home”. With improved technology and Zoom meetings a lot of companies realised that they don’t need an office space but can continue letting people to work from home. Are you going back in to the office? Or are you going to continue to working from home?

For some, working from home has supported their health because they have the freedom to do more activities during the day – go for walks, doing workout sessions from home and cooking meals from scratch. For others it has meant moving less since even the walk to the bus stop or train station has been removed and only limited trips to the shops has been allowed. Regardless what category you are in and regardless if you are back in the office or will continue working from home, I wanted to list 5 tips that can be incorporated on a daily basis to support your health having a less active day job

  1. Do a 10min stretch in the morning – find a short stretch or yoga flow on YouTube that you can mimic or come up with a flow yourself. Getting your body moving first thing will set you up for a good mindset and get your body prepared for what you will put it through during the day
  2. Get your steps in – try to get your 8 000-12 000 steps in on a daily basis. Honestly, this is not a lot and it is an easy target regardless of fitness level. 8 000 steps take roughly 45-60min depending on how fast you walk and you can track your steps using a fitness watch or your mobile phone. If you commute to an office, easy ways to get your steps in is to get off the bus/train one stop earlier, make sure you go out for a quick walk during lunch time or park your car a bit further away from the office if you drive. If you work from home, schedule some time during the day when you go out for a walk – why not 3 breaks of 20min walks throughout the day?
  3. Make sure you move every 60min – set your timer and make sure you get up from your desk and move every 60min. Even if it is just to stretch a bit or move from room to room (or why not do some cleaning of cooking?) If you have a standing office desk, alternate so that one hour you sit and one hour you stand up working
  4. Eat homemade food for lunch and take a break – best way to make sure that you make good food choices during lunch time is planning. Plan in advance what you will eat during your lunch breaks throughout the week. If working from an office, bring a lunch box from home and if working from home, make time to cook something from scratch or have your lunch box still prepared. Take time away from your work and your desk when eating – practice mindful eating without distraction
  5. Plan your snacking – as with your lunch, best way to avoid reaching for a chocolate bar is to have planned your snacking in advance. Bring some fruits or chop up some veggies to snack on. Other more filling snacks can be things like rice cakes with hummus, eggs or a smaller sandwich

This daily activity that we don’t necessarily think about is stands for roughly 20% of our total energy spend a day (whereas our planned exercise activities stands for only 10%) so the more we actively can increase this the more impact it will have on our health and even more so if you have a weight loss goal.

One thing to bear in mind when having a day job that requires very little activity is to still try to move throughout the day. To support overall health and longevity it is not enough to go to the gym a couple of times during the week and lift some weights – it is what we do between those sessions that will have the greatest impact on our health. It is easy to get stuck into the rabbit hole of driving to the office, sit down at your desk for most of the time, drive back home just to move to the sofa and watch some television. When working from home the only movement you might do is going from your bed to your workstation. Let’s all try to set a challenge for ourselves to plan in some movement throughout the day and aim to get our steps in!


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