Between endless hours sitting down and constant birthday celebrations (et tu, cupcakes?), working in an office can lead to a lot of unhealthy behavior. Luckily, staying healthy is totally possible—try these seven super-simple ways to stay in tip-top shape while working nine to five.
Whether or not breakfast is really the most important meal of the day, eating it will prevent you from snacking on random (and often unhealthy) things throughout the morning. And before you say “Oh, but I want to sleep longer and not spend precious time cooking a meal,” know that there are a ton of make-ahead options you can prep on the weekend to eat all week long.
Don’t Deprive Yourself
So that temptress Linda brought in her famous frosted blondies again. Forcing yourself not to eat one will a.) make you sad and b.) make you way more likely to binge on something else unhealthy later. Practice portion control and take a few bites of whatever treat’s in front of you instead of devouring the whole thing and feeling guilty about it.
Team Up with Your Coworkers
Chances are you’re not alone in your quest to be healthier at work, meaning you can (and should) tap into those around you for motivation and inspiration. That could mean starting a Google Doc to share healthy lunch recipes or meal prep tips. You could also round up a few folks to do a month of Whole30. Eating clean, Whole30-compliant meals is infinitely easier when you have people around you to commiserate with over missing cheese and legumes.
Set a Water-Drinking Goal
When you’re hours into a major project, it’s easy to ignore the empty water bottle on your desk. But even if staying chained to your desk saves you a few minutes now, you’ll still feel hungry and sluggish later in the day. From setting an alarm to refill your water bottle to filling up on water-heavy foods like cucumbers, do everything you can to make sure you’re getting adequate H20. It pays off, we promise.
Schedule Walking Meetings
Instead of posting up in a depressing conference room, suggest walking meetings with colleagues when possible. In addition to getting some extra steps in, getting just a whiff of fresh air—for 20 minutes or less—is enough to improve your mood and reduce stress, according to Stanford University research. And even if you don’t have time to go outside, take laps around the office. Every little bit helps.
Perfect Your Desk Setup
Staying healthy at work doesn’t just mean not gaining weight; it also means protecting your neck, back and eyes. Where your computer is in relation to your eyes is super important. If you’re looking too far down, you could develop back and neck pain, and if you’re gazing upward, you’re likely to experience dry eyes. Use a computer stand or even a stack of books to position your monitor or laptop so that you’re only looking down at it at a ten-degree angle, max. While you’re at it, make like your grandma and increase your font size. If the text is too small, you’ll squint, which is the number one culprit of eye fatigue and headaches.
Work Out at Your Desk
Discreetly. We’re not proposing whipping out a set of dumbbells at 3 p.m., but try doing simple, under-the-radar but effective exercises like these six moves that require zero equipment and will keep your blood flowing.