As much as I wish I spent my days working out, experimenting in the kitchen, and cooking up delicious healthy recipes, the reality is that these are the activities I have to squeeze in around my work schedule. I usually exercise everyday, but cooking experiments usually occur just on weekends. I wish I could get paid running for food! It’s a lot easier to be healthy when you have time, but when you spend the day at work, it becomes a lot harder. However, with just a few easy tricks, you can transform your workplace into a healthier one in no time at all. I came across a company called WeWork that allows its members to easily live and work healthily. WeWork is a coworking company that builds healthy workspaces and allows its members to do what they love in a creative and healthy environment. If you are in need of a healthy workspace, there may be a location near you! Otherwise, keep reading for some tips and tricks to make use of the workspace you have.
At my job, I spend most of my day in one place. When I first started, I really did just sit there, in one place, the entire day. I was exhausted at the end of the day, it was hard to keep focus, my legs were stiff, and oftentimes, I was freezing cold. Especially because I have spent the past five years intensely training, moving around so little was definitely not something my body was used to. Since September, I can report huge changes in energy and focus levels and I am only sometimes cold (until I can work all day on a treadmill or they move my office to a sauna, I think I will be stuck with that one…). Here are some ideas for how you can do the same. I’ll start with the easiest and most important and then move along to some ideas that while extremely helpful, you can’t always perform in the middle of a workplace.
Two most important ideas: move around and drink plenty of water. I can tell you that if you do the drinking water part of this, the moving around will naturally follow… Even just walking to the bathroom a few times a day is better than nothing. Part of the reason I felt so tired was because my metabolism had slowed way down as I sat. I felt like everything just stopped moving, causing me to feel tired and like the food I had eaten was just sitting in my stomach like a rock. Both moving and drinking keep energy levels up and metabolism going. Keep a water bottle at your desk; if you get bored of regular water, try adding orange or lemon slices, berries, mint, or ginger for extra flavor. Try and take a walk somewhere every hour or so. Or if you can’t, even bouncing your leg at your desk or changing position helps.
Take a few mental breaks throughout the day. I would get to work sometimes and just think of the hours left in the day. Create breaks throughout the day, even if it’s just to talk to a neighbor, write an email, or look up some new recipes (yup, that’s my break). It was so much easier to remain focused when I thought of staying that way for two hours at a time. Find things to look forward to as well. I used to look forward to a latte every lunch break, which I am trying to cut back on now, but it worked wonders when I first started! 2pm at Starbucks was my favorite part of the day.
Food—this is always a big one, and everyone is a little different. Personally, I feel pretty tired if I eat a huge meal for lunch. I prefer to snack on smaller meals throughout the day. I plan my snacks before the day starts since I know that if I just carelessly snack or eat as I’m working, I will end up eating a lot more than I need to. Never keep a large bag of chips nearby while working because I can guarantee it, you will have finished them by the end of the day. I accidentally ate an entire large bag of sugar snap peas the other day, but that’s why I brought peas and not cookies! Bringing your own food is always best, because you can pack only what you need and plan out your day beforehand.
In this last section, I have some ideas that will definitely keep your metabolism going and may even sneak a workout into your day. But as a mentioned before these may just be too weird or even impossible in some workspaces.
Standing up while working is a great way to stop feeling sluggish. I talk on the phone a lot at work, so having these conversations while standing up or even walking around keeps my energy levels higher throughout the day. Or occasionally alternating between standing up and sitting down will keep you moving. Another thing you can do is trade your in your chair for an exercise ball. Sitting on it engages your core muscles a lot more and prevents you from slouching. It’s impossible to fall asleep at your desk while sitting on this “chair.”
And now, here are the really crazy ones. I only do them when I’m working at home… Throw in some squats, push-ups, or sit-ups. Maybe you can even do some reading while in a plank. Take a jumping jack break. Sometimes I make games for myself: if a customer phone call goes well, do 10 squats; if it doesn’t, time for 10 push-ups. Even just doing 10 at a time will add up pretty quickly throughout the day.
Since getting a FitBit for Christmas, I am also a lot more aware of how much (or how little) I move throughout the day and can make adjustments to it. I’m sure there are countless other ways to creatively be healthy, and they will be easier to implement in certain workspaces than in others. My company had free massages the other day—it was great! On all the other days, I will just keep drinking water, taking walks, and maybe sneak in some sit-ups if I think no one is looking…