Our modern sedentary lifestyles, both at home AND in the workplace, are extremely costly for our bodies!! We are sitting WAY too much.
Think about your activity level from the time you get up to the time you go to bed… we spend time sitting in the car, sitting at the office, then sitting in the car again, and sitting on our couches in front of the TV. Our bodies were made to do amazing things- and sitting is not one of them.
A 2008 Vanderbilt University study of 6300 people published in the American Journal of Epidemiology estimated that the average American spends 55% of waking time (7.7 hours per day) sitting!!!
So what can you do? If you are in an office environment and you spend most of your day sitting, here are some things you can do to increase your healthy activity:
1) Park farther away
You don’t need to shoot for “employee of the month” parking. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but over the course of the year, think about how much that small habit will make a huge difference!
2) Take the stairs
Elevators and escalators are your enemies! Consistently taking the stairs is going to increase your heart rate and give you a boost of energy.
3) Incorporate exercise into your daily routine
According to a study of 50,000 men and women, low cardio respiratory fitness was shown to be a greater risk factor for early death than smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes! That is terrifying! It’s time to DO SOMETHING.
Even one hour of activity per week reduces your chance of heart disease by at least 50%! According to the study mentioned above, 88% of people who have had a heart-related episode were able to make themselves episode-free by adding moderate exercise each week! 70% of people with a heart-related episode who did not exercise experienced another episode within one year.
How can you make sure to get exercise into your daily routine? We suggest waking up an hour earlier to squeeze it in. Some people find it easier to stop at the gym on their way home from work. If you go home right after work with the plan to head to the gym, it’s a lot less likely to happen! When you’re in your comfy clothes, it’s a lot harder to leave the house.
Plan WHEN you’re going to exercise ahead of time and put it in your schedule (just like you would a work appointment, doctor’s appointment, etc).
4) Set an alarm
Set an alarm on your phone to go off every hour at the office. This is especially important for someone who is sitting in front of a computer all day. Stand up and stretch, walk to the nearest copy machine or water cooler, jog up and down the stairs, or go chat with a colleague instead of sending them an email.
5) Just say no!
Working in an office setting, people bring in all sorts of “goodies” to share. It seems like there’s always a birthday to celebrate, a person retiring, Halloween candy to get rid of, a bridal or baby shower, or someone’s kid selling candy bars. A friend of mine even has “bagel day” once a month at her office! JUST SAY NO. You’ll be ok and so will they. I PROMISE.
6) Drink LOTS of water
Drinking lots of water will also make it easier to say no to the office goodies! Water keeps you fuller and helps you to avoid mindless eating. Try to drink half your body weight in ounces.
Drinking lots of water will also force you to have to use the bathroom more often, encouraging you to get up from your desk and move more (you’re welcome).
7) Prep food ahead of time
If you are making a healthy meal, make extra and throw it in a tupperware dish to take to work. Bring healthy snacks (celery, fruit, nuts, etc) with you and even try a meal replacement! Many of our clients use Shaklee meal replacement shakes for their breakfast and lunch. Meal replacements (the right ones) will keep you full and give your body the nutrients it needs to stay fuller longer.
AVOID THE VENDING MACHINE!! Most things that you find in vending machines (even granola bars, trail mix, and energy drinks) are FULL of sugar!
Working from home
If you’re reading this and thinking “I work from home- what about me?”! Personally, I worked from home for a year and 1/2. In that first year, I gained 20 pounds because I worked in front of a computer and sat all day long! When I realized that my clothes didn’t fit the same way anymore, I knew that something had to change FAST. I sat down and made a plan. I decided to do a 30-45 minute workout during every lunch break, cut out the bread and processed sugars (coffee creamers, snacks, etc), stand up and stretch often, and increase my water intake. Voila! I lost 30 pounds in 6 months AND I felt more productive. It IS doable, no matter what your work situation is like.
Our bodies were designed to move and to be taken care of. If implementing all of these things right away seems impossible for you, shoot for 1 or 2 habits per week. Consistent habits= consistent results. Happy MOVING!!
– Mandy Webb, KW Fitness