Healthy Habits for the Working Girl {Guest Post}

The following is a guest post from my twin sister, Victoria. She eagerly offered to lend some pointers – based on firsthand experience – regarding how to stay active in the workplace.

So, without further ado…here’s Victoria!

About three months ago, after spending the majority of my final semester of college fretting that I wouldn’t be employed after graduation, I was offered the opportunity I’d dreamed about to launch my career in the fashion industry.

I work for a buyer of a department store called Bealls located in southwest Florida, and so far, it has been a very positive and rewarding experience. However, sitting at a desk and staring at a computer screen for 40 hours each week does not allow for the amount of physical activity I would prefer to integrate into my daily routine.

So, if any of you are like me and work in office environments that cause you remain sedentary for long periods of time, you might be concerned with your body’s decline in fitness and, therefore, looking for ways to combat this problem before packing on those pounds you miraculously managed to avoid in college.

Sure, you have a busy schedule, and your fast paced lifestyle in the corporate world may not leave much extra time to join a gym and devote a couple hours to exercising. Besides, your paycheck might not be substantial enough to afford a membership at a fitness center. I’m fortunate enough to have access to a free gym at my apartment complex, but to be honest, I’ve never taken advantage of it.

I mean, let’s face it, after 9 hours of attending meetings, answering phones, and trying to make a dent in my ever increasing list of projects and responsibilities, all I want to do upon getting home is change into my jammies, pour myself a glass of wine, and settle down on the couch for an evening of TV.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying don’t exercise. In fact, I definitely recognize the importance of it, especially for people in my position. But if I’m being realistic, it’s not something I want to do religiously. So, I’ve decided to focus on ways I can stay active and not sacrifice my health and physical wellbeing, while at the office.

For starters, and I can’t stress this enough, if your office building is multi-leveled, don’t rely too heavily on the elevator and use the stairs whenever possible. Of course, if you work on the top floor, it’s not necessary to climb 10 or more flights of stairs, but even this seemingly insignificant form of activity can make a considerable difference.

Also, every 30 minutes or so, get up from your desk and take a walk around the building, just to get your blood circulating and prevent your body from being idle for too long. If you have to talk to a colleague or your boss, instead of calling them on the phone or shooting them an email, walk over to their office and converse with them in person. Not only will you be providing yourself with an opportunity for movement, but you’ll also benefit from face-to-face communication, which is unfortunately becoming more and more infrequent these days.

Naturally, when 12:00 rolls around, you are desperate to escape the office and recharge those batteries for an hour on your lunch break. While it may be pleasant to relax at a cafe with some coworkers and catch up on the latest watercooler gossip over burgers or sandwiches, you might want to consider the healthier and more economical alternative of packing a lunch. You can still enjoy social interaction with your peers outside of a professional setting, but you don’t have to worry about the additional calories that even a restaurant salad would likely inflict upon your waistline.

On the weekends, choose an activity you genuinely take pleasure in, such as biking, swimming, hiking, kayaking, or yoga. This way, you can incorporate some exercise into your leisure time and, as an added bonus, you won’t really feel like you’re exercising at all.

Finally, since you spend so much time in your car during the week as a result of morning and evening commutes, when you’re off the clock, make an effort to walk where you need to go rather than driving. If you need to make a deposit at the bank, and it happens to be just a few blocks from home, skip the car ride, take a stroll, and indulge in some fresh air.

I’m not saying that you need to train for a marathon in your off time to counteract the effects of sitting at a desk all day, but adding movement into your regular routine will improve overall wellness and make you feel more refreshed. This will, consequently, enable you to perform your job at an optimum level. You may not think you are making much of an impact, but trust me, every little bit counts in the long run.