By Kyle Johnson

The majority of Americans work anywhere from 8-12 hours each day. For most, it’s a sedentary office job sitting behind a desk for the majority of the work day. This is a time where you can choose to take your health in one of two directions. You can either take the steps to improve your well-being during this time or you can slowly let it slip leading to poor future health.

Let’s take a look at 8 tips to lead a healthy lifestyle at the office:

1. Correct Your Posture: Long hours of sitting at a desk is the number one culprit for a sore back and poor posture. Invest in a chair or tool that provides adequate Lumbar support. Many articles may recommend an exercise ball, but without a conscious effort, you can still slouch while sitting on a rubber ball. Take the time to develop the healthy habit of sitting up straight and don’t be afraid to spend money to help you do so.

2. Get up and Move: Contrary to what your manager may say, it’s important to get up and move around every hour. Take a walk to the kitchen, converse with colleagues, or simply take stroll to the copier. Even if you alternate moving around the office to simply stretching each hour, you can easily help your body loosen up.

3. Take Control of Your Diet: Don’t pack your lunch? You could be sabotaging your diet. We continue to monitor our member’s diets at Professional Fitness Consulting (PFC) and we’ve noticed that the largest caloric intake comes while members are eating out during the workday. Invest the time in yourself and pack a lunch. Wake up early and cook breakfast. Leave the office in time to prepare dinner. Hungry at 3PM, pack a snack! P.S. (Don’t skip lunch!)

4. Pack Snacks: I’m fully aware that your colleagues may not be exactly supportive of your healthy lifestyle. Between the bagels, doughnuts, leftovers, and desk treats, it’s difficult to escape the day without at least a few extra snacks. Be sure to fill your desk with healthy snacking options. 100 calorie snack packs, low sugar protein bars, and fruit will help to save break room blunders.

5. Schedule an Exercise Break: There was a time when smoke breaks were far more common. At PFC we schedule a mandatory exercise break. Twice a day (and at lunch), it’s encouraged to go outside and take a walk. This can be a great way to spend your breaks or lunch to get away from your desk and clear your mind. Get your fellow colleagues together and take a meeting on the go. Any excuse to get moving outside catching some vitamin D is a wonderful way to burn extra

6. Drink Smart: Always have a water bottle at your desk. Get creative if necessary and add fruit to enhance the flavor. Water will help keep you full and will continuously flush your body of many toxins while keeping you hydrated. Also, Skip the sugary pop and energy drinks throughout the day and opt of black coffee or green/black tea. Remember, be sure to limit your caffeine intake to 250mg/day (roughly 3 cups of coffee).

7. Don’t Stress: Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Keep your desk well organized and uncluttered. Be sure to keep office gossiping to a minimum. Sometimes it feels good to get problems off of your chest, but the risk of it falling in the wrong ears is not worth the future stress that it could create.

8. Team Up: Take matter into your own hands and develop a small office weight loss competition. Healthy competition is always a great motivation to accomplish various wellness goals. Doing so with the people that you spend the majority of your day with will help avoid those frequent snacks from landing in the lunchroom. Perhaps your entire office isn’t as motivated to develop a healthy lifestyle. Find those who are and along with colleagues who share similar hobbies as yourself. Perhaps Tim enjoys mountain biking or Susie goes to a local fitness class after work each day. Team up with these people to not only form healthy habits, but healthy relationships.

Take these tips into the office with you and slowly form your own personal wellness program. See what works for you and begin to develop healthy habits at your workplace. Sit down with your human resources manager and see if your company offers any incentives or wellness perks. Regardless, take matters into your own hands and make the commitment to become the healthiest version of YOU.