So many people are still in vacation mode, but it’s almost time to start to think about getting back to work. As we transition from the fun outdoor activities of summer to the regimen of the work day, the metabolism makes a little bit of a shift to a slightly slower pace. But your waistline doesn’t have to shift with it. All it takes is a little bit of attention (and not even that much), and you can keep fit at work.
Gather round. The office water-cooler calls, the coffee pot gurgles. At that early morning breakfast meeting, you’ll gain insights, but you also stand a good chance of gaining weight. Muffins and donuts are not the best brain food, but oh how they love to gather round your middle. Stay strong!
Here are a few easy ways to resist the temptations and keep fit at work:
At the Office (and on the way to the office)
- Do not skip breakfast. Eat a healthy, protein-rich breakfast at home, where you can make better choices. A good breakfast helps get your metabolism going and can keep you feeling full until lunchtime.
- Park as far away from your office as feasible. Your body burns 100 calories per mile, every step makes a difference.
- Better yet, ride your bike. At a good clip, you can burn more than 300 calories in just 30 minutes on your bicycle.
- Take the stairs. You can burn calories on the way up and on the way down!
- Take walking meetings. Walking helps us think. It is the perfect rhythm for thinking; it can sharpen your memory and boost your mood.
- Take lunch out. Don’t eat at your desk. If you brownbag it, bring your lunch outside.
At Your Desk
- Squeeze your cheeks. Not those. Sit up straight, engage your abdominal muscles and squeeze your glutes (butt muscles). Hold for 10 seconds, relax, hold again. Repeat this 10 times. You can do it almost anywhere. Strong gluteal muscles not only look great, but can help support your spine and make you feel tall and proud.
- Pelvic tilt. In yoga, they call it Cat/Cow. Press your hands into your chair on either side of your hips, inhale as you reach your chest up, arch your back, and lengthen your neck. Exhale, pull your belly in toward your spine, round your back, drop your head. Move back and forth in this way several times. It will bring circulation to your mid-section, which aids digestion and can help release the tensions caused by sitting. For an extra bonus, interlace your fingers and straighten your arms, bringing your hands above your head, palms facing up. As you inhale, move your hands back, accentuating the curve in your back. As you exhale, bring your arms forward, round your spine.
- Straighten your legs. Sitting a little bit away from the backrest of your chair, lift one leg, tightening your leg muscles. Hold for 10 seconds; repeat several times on each side.
- Use an exercise ball instead of a chair. Staying upright on a ball takes much more energy than does slumping in a chair. It’s great for your abs, and it’s fun!
At Snack Time
- Drink water. Drink more water. Drink Blossom Water. Stay hydrated.
- Sign up for healthy snacks. SnackNation is a subscription service that delivers a variety of healthy snacks and drinks to your office. Or bring your own! Carrots and apples give you energy while Snickers Bars and pretzels zap it.
- Snack slowly and mindfully. Eating slowly gives your body a better chance to digest, gives you a greater sense of satisfaction, and allows you to notice when your stomach is actually becoming full.
It’s not hard to make these simple practices a habit. Give it a try for a week and let us know how you feel.