It seems that I have gone fitness challenge crazy this year! I vowed to stay fit during the holidays with the #HolidaySweat Challenge sponsored by Run to the finish and Sweat Pink. Then I continued the fun with the sweat pink #NoExcuses challenge in January. Training for a marathon pushed me into the prAna #briningyogaback challenge as I headed into my race taper and began looking for ways to rest, recover, and re-energize. Now that I’m all amped up and feeling fit, I thought I should take an extra step and expand my fitness goals even futher. February marked the beginning of the FitWorth fitness challenge at work. That’s right! I’m getting fit AT WORK!
My local city has started a movement to encourage it’s citizen to fuel up and get active. The company I work for has partnered with the FitWorth movement and all our employees were encouraged to join. What a great way to get fit on the job! I’ve taken this opportunity to find ways to make work another place to get fit and stay healthy instead of just sitting at my desk staring at a computer all day. Today I wanted to share some of the things I’ve changed about my daily work routine to help meet my fitness goals.
1) Get moving – for most of us office dwellers one of the toughest challenges we face is the sedintary lifestyles work can create. If I had a dollar for every hour that I sat at my desk typing or talking on the phone ….well, I’d have a lot of money. I often find myself getting in the groove of work and forget to step away for breaks. The last few weeks I’ve forced myself to stop and take those 10-15 minute breaks I’m allowed. I walk the long way to the breakroom, bathroom, or even just do lap around my office floor so that I can get those steps in. If I’m having one of those sluggish days, I take a lap around the building after lunch to avoid that post-lunch drag. I also keep a tennis ball at my desk to keep my feet moving and work on my fascia release. Hey, a runner always needs fascia release!
2) Snack smart – Too often I get what I call the “office munchies”. This is the time of day I begin mindlessly eating due to sheer brain mush from staring at my screen all day. Like many offices, we have several vending machines with sweet snacks and sodas. I don’t carry cash or change anymore so that I can avoid the temptation! Luckily, I work in a hospital with a full cafeteria that offers salads, gluten-free foods, fresh fruits and even vegetables. When I buy or make my lunch I always pack an extra serving or two of veggies or fruit snacks to have for “munchie o’clock”. We also have a mini fridge in my office so I keep low-fat yogurt and low fat dips in there when I want some extra flavor. Whenever possible I keep fresh fruit stashed in my desk drawer as well.
3) Stretch – sitting can make us stiff. If you have poor posture like I do, it can even make you ache. I take several breaks during my day to sit back in my chair or stand up out of it and stretch my legs, arms, back, fingers, and even my eyes. We often forget how important it is to work the muscles in our eyes. Try looking at something far away and then looking at things closer to you. This helps the eyes focus on a wide range of distances and keeps them functioning more efficiently.
4) Take the stairs whenever possible – It wasn’t until I participated in the #NoExcuses challenge that I even considered taking the stairs. The hospital I work in is very big and has over 6 floors and 4 separate buildings. Most days I’m walking between at least 2 or 3 of them and traveling up and down all 6 floors. I set my pedometer during our stairs challenge day for the #NoExcuses challenge and it turned out I walked over 4 miles that day! The added work of using the stairs made my buns burn and I even found myself a little winded after getting up a few flights. Take the stairs! It’s good for you. Ha Ha Ha
5) Ditch the chair – Many a co-worker have found inventive ways to do this. You could use a workout ball in place of a chair, lift your computer monitor or workstation to allow you to stand while working or even use a pedal exerciser for your feet and legs. Get inventive! Sometimes it’s just good to mix it up.
I love that I have changed my work habits. I find that I’m less sleepy through out the day and I’m happier when I’m feeling better. Luckily, we have started a company wide initiative which has really helped all of us work together to get healthier. How is your office getting healthier?
Happy Running friends!
Priscilla is Dallas/Ft. Worth based nutritionist and blogger.