Top 9 Ways to Stay Healthy and Active at the Office

by Heidi McDonald

I know how hard it can be to become active after having lived a sedentary life for a long time, but the benefits in the end are amazing! Our bodies were meant to be active and eat healthy. Unfortunately, modern man and all of his technology has prevented humanity from living out their potential. I encourage you to adopt any of these tips and adapt them to your work schedule. As an office worker you are more likely to experience back pain and blood clots simply by sitting for long periods of time.

1. Take the stairs (instead of the elevator).

2. Use just half your lunch break (15-30 minutes) to be physically active in the chilly NW weather!

3. Wear a pedometer! literally shows you how many steps you have taken in a day. Start an office competition and see which "teams' of people can meet their personal goals and then offer incentives for the group that exceeds their groups personal stepping goal. Even walking in place is better than standing still!

4. Have water on hand at all times. As we have all learned, water is an essential ingredient to life! If you're thirtsty at work, you're probably dehydrated. Your body is 55 to 78 percent water! And you need one to seven liters a day to stay from being dehydrated. [Editor's note: Most of us need only 2.5-3.5 L daily, and a lot of this comes from our foods. ---J. Learn.]

5. Sit with good posture. A great book Posture, Get it Straight! by Janice Novak shows how back pain can be eliminated with simple posture setting exercises. How you sit at your desk can affect how you feel.

6. Eat well balanced snacks throughout the day. Eating high fat, high carbohydrate foods will not provide you with energy to make it through the day. Make sure your choices are healthy and packed with vitamins and minerals. Drink a coffee instead of a white chocolate mocha and have a bag of crisp cut carrots rather than a bag of potato chips. All the little decisions you make throughout the day will effect your performance on the job and how your body feels!

7. Ride your bike to work. This may be a bit of a stretch especially as the weather gets colder and wetter. But Seattle is a great place to live because of all the bike trails! If you have to drive to work, park as far away as possible and walk the rest of the way to work. I ride the bus but have a little bit of a walking commute to meet my bus stop each morning and night.

8. Join an early morning fitness boot camp. Fitness boot camps that meet as early as 5:30 to 6am can be great way to start off the day. Not only do they wake you up, but before you know it you have put in an hour of cardio/weight lifting and general exercise. So even if you do have to sit in a cubicle all day, you've already worked out! They also offer a sense of community as you workout with other likeminded men and women.

9. Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair. An exercise ball forces you to balance and to use your abdominal muscles even if you are just sitting on it. During breaks, you could even attempt a few crunches.

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