July 16, 2015
Not only does working from 9 to 5 limit the hours in the day that you are able to squeeze in a workout, but being sedentary for long periods of time can drain your energy and lead to adverse health effects. Top that off with sugary snacks being easily accessible in the break room and it sometimes seems impossible to dodge 8 hours of unhealthy habits. Although the 9-5 slump may seem inevitable, making a conscious effort to avoid desk-job traps can go a long way and leave you feeling energized when you leave the office. Try some of these simple tips and swaps to transform your work day habits.
1. Take control of your coffee consumption– For many, coffee is a staple that provides an energy boost to get through the day. Although coffee can be an essential tool for productivity and also provide health benefit (read more here) the sugar and cream in bottomless coffee refills can add up and can also be dehydrating. Keep track of your coffee consumption and try to limit how much cream and sugar you add or try almond milk as a healthier alternative.
2. Work in Workouts– The Washington Post has compiled a series of fun, quick workouts you can do in your office when you need a surge of energy. Though The Washington Post acknowledges that many of them come with a degree of embarrassment (and even provides an embarrassment scale), sprinkling in a few reps of desk push-ups or “Hallelujahs” could make a big difference in your physical well-being over time. Check out the full list of 20 exercises here.
3. Be prepared for snack attack– When hunger sets in, it is tempting to turn to sugary snacks that will give you an immediate sugar rush and satisfy your huger for a little while. Be prepared for the snack attack by stocking up with healthy options to avoid hitting the vending machine for a candy bar. Non-perishable foods such as protein bars, granola, and pretzels are great options to this end.
4. Hydrate– Believe it or not, often what we mistake for hunger is actually just thirst. Drinking water regularly can help you cut down on cravings. Drinking water is especially important for heavy coffee drinkers, as caffeine is dehydrating.
5. Stretch– With a combination of sitting for hours on end and being tense from workplace stress, it’s easy to leave the office at the end of the day with your muscles feeling fatigued after not doing much of anything. Stop this problem in its tracks by taking at least 10 seconds to stretch every hour. For a 9-5 job that adds up to a total of 1 minute and 20 seconds out of 8 hours to focus on you. Add in some deep breaths to refocus and revitalize your mind even on the busiest of days.
6. Take the stairs– Ditch the elevator and make the trek when moving between floors. Doing so will engage muscles that you haven’t been using all day and get your heart rate up.