How to Fight Desk Job Weight Gain

Editor’s Note: Please welcome Sarah Fudin to the Bleeding Edge of Health Care News and Information. Fudin currently works in community relations for University of Southern California Rossier School of Education’s online master’s programs. USC Rossier Online provides current and aspiring teachers the opportunity to earn a Masters in Education and ESL certification.  Outside of work Fudin enjoys running, reading and Pinkberry frozen yogurt.

weight gain desk job

A desk job can leave you lethargic and sluggish.

Working at a desk can leave you feeling stiff, lethargic and stressed out. In fact, studies show that spending too much time sitting could significantly shorten your lifespan.

But it doesn’t have to be this way!

The same study, which showed that sitting can have lethal side-effects, also showed that remaining active throughout the day (even without any rigorous exercise), helps to boost metabolism and prevent weight-gain.

Check out these simple tips that will help you to remain active, focused and energetic throughout the work day:

Exercise During Breaks

Maybe your job requires that you sit at your desk for the better part of eight hours a day, but you can choose differently during your coffee and lunch breaks. First, don’t spend these precious breaks drinking too much coffee or eating fast food. Eating balanced healthy meals and engaging in some light exercise throughout the day will keep you feeling fresh. A quick walk around your building inside or out, or some simple stretching where you find the space can do wonders to alleviate tension in your legs, hips and back. If your company has an on-site fitness facility, or if there is a nearby commercial gym, you might even find time to slip in a proper workout before returning to the grind.

Work Out in Your Office Space

work out at office

Sometimes you need to Just Do It.

While working out in the office might feel a little odd at first, it provides quite a health and productivity boost. You burn calories that you wouldn’t have if you sat at your desk instead.  Exercising stimulates the release of endorphins that increase concentration throughout the day. If you don’t have your own office and don’t feel comfortable doing push-ups with your desk neighbors looking on, consider taking a quick stroll around the building or around the block, maybe even stopping at a nearby park.

Switch to a Standing Desk

By default, most people think of a desk job as one where you sit all day. But just by making the switch to a standing desk, you can burn dozens more calories a day. It may take a week or two to get used to it, but after the initial discomfort you’ll applaud your decision. If you have bad feet, switching to sitting on an exercise ball provides another good alternative to your desk chair. Sitting on an exercise ball won’t burn as many calories as a standing desk, but it still beats sitting in an office chair.

Make the Most of Your Time Off

Staying active at your job presents a challenge, but it will come more naturally if you live an active life off the clock as well. Stop in at the gym before work, challenge a friend to a pickup game of ball, or go hiking on a long weekend. Whatever physical activity you enjoy doing, make time to do it regularly. After all, if you work your body hard enough over the weekend, sitting down on Monday morning will feel like a welcome break – until Tuesday – then you’ll want to get up and move once again.

As you begin to make changes in your routine that lead to a healthier and more active lifestyle, it also helps to maintain a positive attitude. You should enjoy the physical activity and exercise you do, and as it becomes a welcome routine should ultimately decrease your stress level throughout the day. While changing your sedentary habits may represent a frustrating challenge at first, don’t let it get you down. Choose one change to your routine and focus on doing it consistently for a month. This way you gradually increase your level of activity, one step at a time. After about a month, the habit should feel like second nature, and then you can decide whether you want to make further changes.

Share with the Bleeding Edge: Have you experienced weight and waist gain at your desk job? 

Image credit: iamnotsohappy dot com, prevention dot com

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  1. #1 by Fancy Scrubs (@fancyscrubs) on May 14, 2012 - 3:02 PM

    Yes, a weight gain since working on computer so much. Love your tip on a standing desk. May look into that one soon.

    • #2 by Samantha Gluck on May 14, 2012 - 3:12 PM

      As you may know, Lisa, I work out intensely — a lot. I’m a CrossFit enthusiast. Even so, I get antsy just sitting at my desk while working. So I think it’s a good idea, even for those who regularly participate in a good amount of physical exercise. I sit on a yoga ball most of the time while at my desk. Since I’m tall (5’7″), I had to look around to find one with a large enough diameter to allow me to sit at a comfortable height. But shorter folks can find an appropriately sized yoga ball at a Wal-Mart or Target. I love the idea of a standing desk, but (and I know it’s sort of silly) am waiting for manufacturers to come out with a more traditional looking style so it’ll fit with my office decor. Know what I mean?