• Serena McGowan

How to Stay Active With an Office Job

I try to stay as active as possible so that I don’t get sedentary. I knew from the very beginning that my career was going to have me at a desk, in front of a computer, with little to no movement for hours on end. The most “movement” would be my finger typing code, emails, papers, and tickets. I have to be at my desk for a majority of the day to take support calls and complete my everyday tasks.

My first recommendation for staying active is to stand sporadically throughout the day. Staying still for too many hours leaves me feeling stiff, achy, and tired. Standing promotes blood flow to the brain and keeps you feeling loose. It also helps to stretch while you’re standing. Sitting still puts pressure on your lower back and the muscles start to compress because of gravity. I have an Apple Watch that never fails to yell at me at 11:50 or any time there’s 10 minutes until the next hour when I didn’t stand at least once. The goal that the watch sets is to have at least 12 hours during the day where you stood up and walked around. This is helpful because I tend to lose track of time when I am working on a bigger project.

Another thing I try to do is go for walks. Whether this means taking the stairs instead of the elevator whenever I need to go to a different floor, or go for a short walk before my shift starts or on lunch. Anywhere between eight and ten thousand steps is the recommended daily goal according to the American Heart Association. When I was an apprentice, I would purposely get to work early so that I could walk around the block or walk to Starbucks and get coffee. Both options equaled about a mile.

Something I do that doesn’t require physical activity is eating wholesome, healthy foods while I’m at work. Some of my staple food choices that leave me feeling full and energized are oatmeal with fruit and almond butter, spinach with rice and grilled chicken, raw veggies, almonds and yogurt. Eating these foods leaves my body feeling refreshed and energized. That feeling keeps me motivated and wanting to go for walks instead of feeling like it’s a chore. The natural endorphins released from any amount of physical activity keep you energized and also stimulate the brain.

Personally, staying active while still working is towards the top of my priority list. If I don’t stand throughout the day or walk around, my body gets stiff and achy. The worst feeling is standing after hours upon hours of sitting and feeling like your body can't move. If you have a job like mine, try out these small steps to make a difference in your work day and let me know how it goes in the comments below.