Find time to clock in these workplace activities—your body will thank you If you’re part of the 40-plus work week crowd, you may think your healthy habits are non-existent, and they may be. Researchers found that women who worked long hours were also much more likely to smoke, drink heavily and skimp on exercise. What’s more: middle-aged women who worked more than 35 hours a week gained more weight over a two-year period than those who worked less.
Of the more than 9,000 women who participated in a study at Monash University in Australia, those who worked very long hours (more than 49 hours per week) gained the most—each woman put on, on average, 1.9 percent of her body weight, compared to just a 1.6 percent weight gain in women who worked part-time. “It’s important for women and their families to be aware that working long hours is associated with weight gain and therefore potentially a health risk,” says lead researcher Nicole Au.
And even if you avoid overeating when work stresses you out it’s probably your desk itself—or rather, the fact that you’re chained to it all day long—that’s helping you pack on the pounds. Timothy S. Church, PhD, an exercise researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA, published a study last year in the journal PLoS One that found that 80 percent of today’s jobs are sedentary, which means as long as you’re working, you’re not getting the exercise you need.So what can you do if you can’t get out of the office in time to hit the gym and cook a healthy dinner? Bring the workout to you! Take Dr. Church’s advice for fitting activity into even the craziest workday—yes, we mean one of those days when you don’t even check the clock on your computer until 1PM.
1. Practice good phone etiquette. Don’t just try to remind yourself to stand during phone calls—force yourself, by placing your phone on a high-up shelf at your desk. Take calls on your cell whenever you can, and pace your office while you talk. And for those dreaded conference calls, take advantage of all that extra time: put your colleagues on speaker, and try to sneak in a few squats or reps with free weights while you listen.
2. Take back your lunch hour. Running to the deli downstairs means you’ll get back to your desk faster, but a few extra minutes of walking could make a big difference. Try that new Thai place that opened a few blocks away, or take your lunch to a park within walking distance and eat in the sunlight instead of under dreary fluorescents.
3. Cross the cube border. Try not to call or email anyone who sits within 500 feet of you, Dr. Church says. Chances are, they’re feeling a little lonely at their desk around 4PM, too—pop by and ask your question in person! Chances are they’ll welcome the company, and you’ll have an excuse to walk away from your desk.
4. Follow the 40-minute rule. Some say you should get up from your desk every hour, but Dr. Church says it should be more like every 40 minutes. We don’t suggest you get a cup of coffee that often unless you want your coworkers to confuse you with the Energizer Bunny, but luckily, your office provides plenty of other excuses. Print to the farthest printer from your desk, investigate whether the bathrooms on the floor above you really are nicer, do a quick sun salute before your morning meeting…you get the picture. If you’re so in the zone that hours go by and you’re still glued to your chair, set an alarm on your computer—if that’s not a productive way to fill your calendar, we don’t know what is.
If the threat of a growing waistline isn’t enough to unglue your from your chair, consider this: a sedentary desk job can lead to major problems down the road, like obesity, diabetes, pre-diabetes, back pain, and joint pain, Dr. Church says. So get up and get moving, for health’s sake!
Article By: Amanda First