By Amber Zeiher, MS Dietetics, Lifestyle Consultant
The World Health Organization states that 60-80% of the population is currently living a sedentary or inactive lifestyle. Many Americans have a job that resembles a sedentary lifestyle where they are not incorporating much, if any, activity throughout their day. Sedentary jobs are one of the main causes for an inactive lifestyle as many spend a majority of their time at work and struggle to fit structured exercise into their day.
Numerous studies have looked at the effect a sedentary job or lifestyle has on an individual’s health. Through evidence-based research, the World Health Organization states that a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk for developing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and more. Are there ways to incorporate a healthy lifestyle and lose weight when you work a sedentary job? By taking small opportunities throughout your workday, you can increase your activity level. This, in combination of being mindful of your nutrition and dietary intake, can aide in weight loss or maintenance even when working a sedentary job. Incorporate the following tips and suggestions into your day to help promote a healthy lifestyle.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator whenever you can at work. As this gets easier, challenge yourself to increase the number of flights you walk up and/or your pace.
- If you drive to work, park farther away from the entrance to increase your steps for the day. If you take a bus, try getting off the bus a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way to work or home. If you live close enough, walk or bike to work once a week. Increase the number of days as you begin to feel more comfortable.
- If you are able, incorporate a standing desk so you can alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day, while not affecting your productivity.
- Use a restroom or bathroom further away from your workstation, even on another floor to incorporate more stairs throughout the day.
- If traveling for work, take advantage of the hotel fitness center or do body weight exercises such as squats, push-ups, and sit-ups in your room.
- Set a reminder on your phone to get up and move every 30 minutes, this could be standing and stretching or taking a quick walk around your work building to help keep you active throughout the day.
- If it is a nice day, take a walk outside on your breaks. This will also help you relax while giving you the opportunity to enjoy the nice weather outside.
- Meal prep your workday lunches and snacks in advance, as this should help you replace unhealthy/processed and impulsive food options with thoughtful nutrition choices for optimal functioning throughout the day.
Having a sedentary job or not having time to fit structured exercise into your day doesn’t mean you can’t be active. There are many opportunities where you can increase your step count and activity level throughout the workday. By taking this into account, along with being mindful of your food choices and portion sizes you can promote weight loss when working a sedentary job. Once you become more aware of ways you can be more active in the workplace, you will see many opportunities to be creative in increasing your activity.
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- World Health Organization (WHO): https://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/release23/en/
- American Heart Association: