A healthy body is a body in motion. Whether you spend two hours a day at the gym or simply get most of your exercise from the day to day running around you do as you go through life, building your strength is key to maintaining your overall fitness. This can be a challenge in your everyday life, and is sometimes made doubly difficult if you find yourself firmly established in a desk job.
It can be easy to blame the number of hours tied to your desk as the reason for inactivity. But, always keep in mind that you are your top priority in life, ahead of jobs, outside commitments and other people. You can only give your best self to others if you are taking care of yourself first.
How can you work around that desk job to care for your top priority?
- Exercise isn't an all or nothing proposition. Even ten minutes is better than nothing. Get up ten minutes earlier in the morning for a quick round of movements before you hit the shower. You won't miss the sleep and you will jump start your energy level for the day.
- Avoid the temptation to work through your lunch hour. Carry your lunch to work in order to save time, money and extra calories. Use those saved minutes to take a walk around the block or climb the stairs in your office building a few times.
- Don't let technology turn you into a marshmallow. Texts, e-mails and voice messages are all easy ways to communicate while keeping you sedentary. Stand up every chance you get and deliver your messages in person. Walking across the office or down the hall is good for your circulation, even if it's not enough to break a sweat.
- Discourage business meetings that take place over the lunch or dinner table. You can discuss a contract on the golf course, the tennis court or the walking trail.
- Not all desk jobs are simple nine-to-five time commitments. Many people put in a lot of extra hours at law firms, medical facilities and busy office environments. You can't always control your job requirements. You can, and must, control what you do with your time away from the office.
- Resist the desire to stop at the local pub with co-workers after work on a regular basis. You need to make yourself the first priority. Save the happy hour for special or occasional events and fit in an hour or two of something physical. Try to encourage your co-workers to join you on your fitness journey.
- If you have an option to walk or bike to work, take advantage of it. If not, park at the far end of the parking lot and take a little stroll on your way to and from the office. If you use public transportation, get off a few blocks before your destination.
- Don't munch at your desk. Fitness is as much about the caloric energy you consume as it is about the energy your burn. Don't sabotage your fitness goals with poor nutrition. If you get hungry, have an apple or banana handy.
- Don't hunker down at your desk for the duration of the day. Stand up when talking on the phone. Stand up to stretch or squat at least once an hour. Pay attention to your posture. That hunched over tension can build up and lead to headaches, back problems and stiff muscles, things that will make you feel like not exercising even when you have the time.
- Learn to manage your stress. There's no getting around it. The confined movements that seem to go along with desk jobs put stress on your body. Time commitments and scheduling requirements on the job add to that stress. Practice some simple meditation techniques to give you the mental fitness you need to go along with your physical fitness.
Working for a living incorporates the best and the worst styles of living. While it's great to be gainfully employed and fully participating in the world around you, the workplace can take a definite toll on your healthy commitments to yourself. It's important to take the lead in your own life when it comes to establishing your priorities.