Being healthy, happy, and fit in a 9-5 sedentary world

I’m a software engineer. I’ve been in my career for almost fifteen years now, and have spent way, way, way too much of my time seated at a desk, bent over a keyboard typing out code.

Obviously this isn’t healthy. We weren’t designed for long periods of sitting day in and day out, eating processed food, and sitting in traffic to and from this experience. It’s not ideal. It’s not conducive to our well-beings.

Okay, so you may be thinking, “Yeah, no kidding, Tea-Addicted Geek, so what the heck do I do about it?” Great question! I’m here to share with you based on years of experimentation and pain what has worked for me.

  1. Park as far away from your building as possible and walk.
  2. STAIRS. Walk them. Ditto with Escalators. Up AND down. It drives me nuts to watch fellow fitness coaches just STANDING there on an escalator going down! I am used to taking absolutely every advantage I have to be active, and this is one of those things.
  3. Get. Up. Walk away from your desk. Grab water. Grab tea. Drink it. If this means frequent bathroom breaks, GREAT! Even better: take the time to walk to your co-workers versus sending them emails. You’ll look more proactive AND you’ll be on  your feet more.
  4. Go for walks during lunch breaks, indoors or outdoors. No place to do it? Walk up and down the stairs.
  5. Get up earlier and work out before going to work. For some this may be challenging. I am NOT a morning person, and some mornings for me are better than others.
  6. Bag your lunch. You’ll save money AND you won’t be eating crap (or tempted to do so).
  7. Join any wellness, fitness classes or programs your workplace provides. My own place of employment will be offering a series of Zumba classes this month.
  8. Do exercises at your desk. Visit those links and see what works for you!
  9. STRETCH. My neck and shoulders are prone to strain and injury due to my occupation, and stretching every hour helps. I also recommend rumble rollers or foam rollers. Worth. Every. Penny.
  10. If you can take public transportation to work, DO SO. It’s not only green, but it’s also giving you more chances to be active and on your feet! It could (and does) make the caloric burn difference. When I have a job in downtown Boston, I burn an extra 200-400 calories per day on average according to my Bodybugg. It takes 3500 calories to burn in order to lose a pound, that’s 500 calories PER DAY extra to burn. See how much that could help?
  11. Tips on healthy snacks at work: hummus and veggies, pieces of fruit, rice cakes, meal bars (watch the sugar!!), and smoothies. I sometimes bring a travel blender into work in order to make my Shakeology protein smoothies.
  12. Find out if any of your co-workers are into fitness, maybe organize a regular group walk. It’s social, it’s fun, and it can only help you and others in the long run.

If you work in a career like, odds are likely not everyone will be as mindful as you. They may want to eat crap, sit around, and be perfectly happy about that. Some may even make fun of you or try to sabotage your success. Don’t let them! It’s YOUR life, not theirs, and they’re perfectly welcome to do what they want with theirs. In the end, YOU have to live with your body, your health, and your happiness.

And who knows? Maybe one of them will join you for a quick walk around the building. 🙂

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