When you spend most of the day sedentary, you may worry that you’ll never reach your health and fitness goals. Luckily, small steps lead to big change, and this is especially true as an office worker. There are many quick, daily health goals you can set for yourself to work toward a healthier and happier you.
Check out the goals below, each of which is realistic for any type of office environment. Adapt these ideas to your life and goals so you can make the most out of each one.
Stand and Stretch an Hour
Sitting throws our body all out of whack. It causes stiff shoulders, neck pain, muscle degeneration, knee pain, poor circulation and so much more. Getting up once an hour and stretching helps your body realign, and may mitigate the potential issues that can arise from sitting all day (though expert opinions are all over the board on this one). In either case, getting up and stretching around is always a good idea.
The hard part is keeping yourself accountable to doing this every single day. The best way to start keeping yourself more accountable for your activity level is to get an activity tracker. You can set your tracker to vibrate on your wrist to remind you that you’ve been sitting too long and it is time to get up and move. Dig your fitness tracker out of the box it’s sitting in, and if you don’t have one, set alarms on your phone or computer instead.
Take it one step further: Do one minute of exercise each hour, like a plank hold, wall squat, desk pushups, or calf raises.
Walk 3 Times a Week after Lunch
Getting up out of your chair once an hour is good, but that movement is likely restricted to a standing stretch or short walk to the bathroom. Make time in your day for longer bouts of activity with short post-lunch walks.
Not only will fresh air help reduce the effects of the mid-afternoon slump, but you’ll feel refreshed and ready for the second half of your day. According to a 2015 study, 30-minute lunchtime walks improved the participants’ overall feeling of happiness, including increased feelings of enthusiasm and relaxation, and reduced nervousness at work.
Take it one step further: Recruit co-workers to join you, making the walk more enjoyable. Having someone else on board will motivate you to stick with your goal and make it a habit that you come to enjoy.
Eat Lean Protein and Vegetables 3 Times A Week!
You can buy a meal with lean protein and vegetables at almost any restaurant. Better yet, prep protein and vegetables at home on Sundays and pre-pack sealable containers so you can grab-and-go three mornings a week.
This lunch combination is not just healthy, but also extremely versatile. This allows everyone can use it as a guide, regardless of taste preferences. Here are a few ideas to consider if you’re feeling uninspired:
- Chicken + raw broccoli and carrots + hummus
- Chicken + green leaf salad
- Turkey burger + baked sweet potato “fries”
- Roasted turkey salad + olive oil and balsamic
- Nicois salad
- Roasted salmon + romaine lettuce + lemon, olive oil
Take it one step further: Eat lean protein and veggies for lunch Monday through Thursday, and allow yourself to indulge in something else on Fridays. This will give you something to look forward to throughout the week, which may be the motivation you need to stick with it. The best part: once you make your healthy lunches a habit, you’ll feel so good you won’t even want to dig into pizza and fries when Friday rolls around.
You can make your healthy life a reality with these realistic, daily health goals that get you to the finish line one stretch or post-lunch walk at a time. Adapt them to your life and work environment so they turn into habits that stick with you.