Many of us, especially those of us in the programming industry, have long, sedentary days glued to our computers. Though I have been blessed with being naturally thin, I realize this won’t last forever. Besides weight gain, a sedentary lifestyle leads to a host of health issues, and has been compared to smoking cigarettes with how detrimental it is to our health.
It takes a little effort and dedication, but staying slim and healthy despite a sedentary job is possible. Here are some ways I have found help a lot:
1. Take a lunch walk daily.
Many of us are used to taking our lunch at our desks because we have so much work to do. But consider trying to replace the lunch hour you’re allowed to have with a lunch walk and eating at your desk. Maybe pack a light snack for lunch so you don’t annoy your co-workers with the scent of an actual meal. If that doesn’t work, try taking half an hour to eat lunch and the other half hour to take a walk. That extra half hour of daily walking adds up fast.
2. Get a standing desk.
Standing desks are great, though if you’re just starting out, you’ll need to build up to longer stints of standing. Standing desks help prevent back and circulation issues from too much sitting, and help strengthen your leg muscles too.
3. Find alternatives to junk snacking.
While working at a desk for hours, it’s easy to go for the snacks. But really think about whether you are hungry or just bored or anxious when you do that. Consider alternatives like vegetables, or a calorie-free, caffeine-free drink like herbal tea or La Croix sparkling water. Even a bit of chewing gum might help.
4. Everything in moderation.
The big reason why people gain weight in sedentary jobs is because they take in more calories than they burn. It’s that simple. If you have a sedentary job and aren’t burning those calories, start cutting back on portions. Cut out dessert and alcohol, or at least pare it back to once a week or so. It’s ok to still have the things you love, just start cutting back to create a calorie deficit. Slow down and savor those smaller bites, enjoy them even more than if you were hastily indulging.
5. Make the rest of your life an active one.
Just because we spend 8-10 hours or more a day sedentary, doesn’t mean the rest of our time here on Earth has to be that way. Make a point to get 10,000 steps a day. Take a walk around the park in the evenings, hit the gym for some quick cardio, go hiking on the weekends, even shopping is great. Just make a point to be active when you’re not at work.