How to Fit Healthy into Your Life
For most people, work consumes much of their time and energy. As a result, the idea of eating right and adding some type of physical workout into that already exhausting regimen can feel like an impossible goal to meet. Having the right tools can help!
How to Squeeze Health into Your Workday
Whether you’re working those long shifts at the office or you’re just clocking in for a few hours at a time, you’re fully aware of how physically, mentally, and emotionally beat you feel on a day-to-day basis.
Even if you would prefer to relax when you have downtime, and truly believe that working out is the last thing on earth you want to do, you should still give it a try—you’ll feel so much better if you do.
Here’s how you can fight back against those tired and lazy feelings throughout the day and add some physical activity into your workday.
Meet Yourself Exactly Where You Are
If you’ve been sedentary for a long time and not making the best food choices, that’s where you are and that’s where you begin. You can’t just dive right into extreme workouts and change your diet and expect to succeed. Start small and build up to more advanced exercises and a healthier diet.
Simply getting out of your chair and walking around can help your body get used to more movement and build up to higher intensity activities, many of which you can do at your desk.
Mindful eating can help change the relationship you have with food and will also have a positive spillover effect on your overall attitude about exercise, health, and wellness.
Eating healthy at the office can be tricky, but it can be done with a little planning. Give yourself some time each week to prep your meals and choose healthier options at the grocery store.
If you have an unhealthy relationship with food, you’ll need to get to the root of what’s compelling you to binge eat or to eat when you’re not really hungry. If you eat when you’re bored, stressed, tired, emotional, etc., and then beat yourself up for failing at your pledge to control yourself, you are certainly not alone.
However, a small change in your thinking can start to turn things around. In a book called The Rules of “Normal” Eating, psychotherapist Karen R. Koenig provides excellent tips that help readers learn how to “reprogram their dysfunctional beliefs, manage uncomfortable feelings without turning to food, and establish new eating habits that tune their bodies into natural sensations of hunger, pleasure, satisfaction, and satiation.”
And the Binge Eating Disorder Association provides a list of books and other resources for those who struggle with food issues.
Practice Chair Yoga
Doing just a few yoga stretches each day will strengthen your body, replenish your energy, and alleviate tightness in your hips, neck, wrists, shoulders, and back. Yoga can help you feel better physically and mentally.
You can do these poses and stretches at your desk:
- Forward Bend — Sit up tall, take a deep breath, exhale while you fold forward. Your upper body is now resting on your thighs. Hold the position and take five to 10 deep breaths. Place your hands on your knees and slowly roll up one vertebra at a time.
- Boat Pose — Sit up tall; reach both hands forward and simultaneously pull your feet toward you. Let the chair back support you as you grasp your toes and tilt back. Hold this position as you breathe deeply for five to 10 breaths.
- Quad Stretch — Sit at the front edge of the chair. Lift your outside leg, bend your leg and hold your foot with your knee dropping toward the floor. This stretches your thigh, knee, and ankle. While you’re holding this pose, it’s important to engage your abdominal muscles so that you don’t pull on your lower back. Breathe deep for five to 10 breaths.
- Extended Side Angle — Sit sideways with one leg bent over the side of the chair. Extend your outside leg to the other side of the chair. Take a big breath; exhale forward to place your front arm on your leg. Next, take our back arm overhead and forward. Hold the pose for five to 10 deep breaths.
- Half Moon — Stand in front of your chair seat then bend forward and place your hands on the seat. Lift one leg as you hold your foot in a flexed position. Lift the same arm as the flexed foot, and rotate your body sideways. Hold the pose as you take five to 10 breaths.
If you don’t have enough time to get away from the office, you can try a few beginner exercises right at your desk.
In order to kick-start your office workout, 10 minutes is really all you need.
Now, perhaps you don’t feel comfortable squatting, lunging, and jumping at your desk in full view of your office mates. Understandable. The Washington Post prepared this infographic of exercises that ‘real people’ can incorporate into a workday. And many of these exercises are pretty low-key.
And finally, a quick walk around the office, and up and down steps, is the easiest way to build more physical activity into your workday.
Don’t wait, start right now! It’s time to start taking better care of yourself whether you’re on the clock or not. Don’t let those 3 p.m. blues keep you down anymore—practice mindful eating and add some exercise to your workday. Read more health and fitness tips and find what works best for you.
- How to ‘Health-Up’ Your Workday - April 5, 2021
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