I recently had a discussion with a fellow Coach who was returning from mat leave to a 9-5 office job. She was worried that her new desk-chain would undo all the hard work she’d put in to lose the baby weight. She was right to be worried. Studies have shown that sitting all day can lead to weight gain, degenerated muscles, and neck and back strains. It can also seriously increase your risk of illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer…and that’s even in people who get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. I’m in the same boat as this new mom – I work a 45-hour workweek at a desk and then often go home to sit on the couch for several more hours – and I know we’re not alone. But we can’t just quit our jobs, so how can we all avoid this health risk our jobs pose?
Meal prep is KEY. If I don’t bring my lunch, I know I’ll be in that food court ordering a Big Mac in no time. And then grabbing a donut with my afternoon coffee. The last thing you want is to add a high fat/high sodium/high sugar meal to your body & then just… sit. I spend every Sunday night making a big dinner that will give me leftovers for at least the next 4 days. I also make my healthy lunches for the next couple of days, ensuring that I have lots of healthy snacks available (apples, pears, carrots & hummus, cheese strings…) to get me through that midday slump.
2. Pee 7946 Times
Drink that water! When your body is hydrated you’ll have fewer headaches, better brainpower, clearer skin, and perhaps most important for us 9-5ers: better circulation. Set reminders, download a tracking app, or drink a big glass before every meal. Just get it in somehow! If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
3. Squat After You Squat
Every time you go to the washroom (which should be often – see point #2!), drop it like it’s hot & do at least 10 squats in the stall before you leave. You’ll get that blood pumping, aid your digestion, improve your posture, and of course build muscle & burn fat!
4. Move More
If you can walk or cycle to/from work, do it! Go for a brisk walk on your lunch break – even if it’s just around the office floor. Find some nearby stairs and do a few flights on your coffee break. Set a reminder on your computer (I personally love the StandApp Chrome Extension) to nudge you out of your chair for at least 30 seconds every half hour. If you can add 30 mins of extra movement to your workday (in addition to your 30 mins of exercise before or after work!), you’ll reap the benefits and lower the health risks.