Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How to be Healthy with a Desk Job

I started a new job this week that is very different from the one I used to have in terms of physical activity. At my previous job (where I spent almost 3 years), I was used to being on my feet almost half the day, and sometimes more.

Now, getting up to walk around isn't nearly as frequent of an occurrence. I sit in front of three monitors, manipulating 3D drawings and running simulations most of the day. Occasionally we need to go out on the floor and see some actual prototypes of our digital parts, but only once or twice a week.

It has been only a month since I have started the desk job, but I have learned some tips to help keep myself from going to complete mush.

  • Find excuses to walk. There are two restrooms in my building, one upstairs near where I work, and one downstairs. I try to use the one downstairs, so I have a bit of a walk and some stair-climbing.
  • Brown-bag it. There is no better way to have control over what you consume for lunch than preparing it ahead of time. Although I usually join my coworkers at the company cafeteria, I bring my (healthy) lunch from home. Occasionally I'll supplement it with a cafeteria item such as soup, especially if I know I have a hard workout planned for that evening.
  • But smartly. You won't get the health benefits of bringing your own lunch if you bring a baloney sandwich, chips, and cookies. I try to make sure I have a healthy dish with plenty of vegetables. One of my favorites is Smart Ones' Chicken Caberona fortified with extra fresh spinach.
  • Workout (almost) daily before or after work. This was important even in my previous job, but has become even more so with my desk job. Now, I generally work out at least 4 of the five work days, taking a break occasionally on Fridays, since I have been doing a Saturday morning group class. I'm more relunctant to take a day off, knowing it is the only real chance my body gets to exercise.
  • Eat a little lighter. I'm spending more hours overall sitting-despite my best efforts I'm probably not going to burn the same amount of calories throughout the day that I used to. I need to adjust accordingly.

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