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It’s Possible! – Staying healthy at your desk

The struggle is real – spending most of your office hours sitting at a desk typing away furiously not only often leads to body aches, but also weight gain. Besides experiencing a dropping metabolic rate from your mid-twenties onwards[1], which is the age at which several of us would have entered the workforce by, having a desk-bound job significantly reduces the opportunities for our bodies to work out.

If you are experiencing this, don’t worry – (a) you are not alone, for a study has shown that over 60% of Singaporeans have gained weight since starting work[2], and (b) this article provides helpful tips.

1) Walk whenever possible.

Admit it – most of the time, you take vehicular transport not because you cannot afford the time to, but because you are lazy. If taking a bus to work saves you only 5 minutes of traveling time as compared to walking, why not spend that time losing weight by walking? Not only will you physically see the effects of the latter in the long run, doing so is great for your heart, and good health is priceless.

2) Avoid using the office phone.

Unless a co-worker whom you need to speak to is seated in another building, why not get up to talk to him/her, instead of using the office phone? Give yourself as many opportunities to get moving as possible. Moreover, in this day and age where technology is taking over so much of human communication, face-to-face interactions are refreshing. Doing so also allows you to pick up nonverbal cues that may be important to your task at hand.

3) Drink lots and lots of water.

This tip is gold, and will remain gold forever. Not only is drinking water important for concentration[3] and digestion[4], it promotes weight loss[5]. Bring a huge water bottle to work so that water is easily accessible from your seat. It will also help if you are especially fond of that bottle’s design, so that you look forward to drinking from it every time! Get a bottle in your favourite colour 🙂

4) Don’t snack.

When we are stressed, we are drawn to high-energy foods[6]. However, it is common knowledge that compulsive snacking is a usual cause of weight gain. Read here for tips to stop snacking. Alternatively, choose healthier snacks like our quinoa chocolate, instead of salt-loaded potato chips.

5) Work out!

Work outs don’t have to only come in the form of 1-hour brisk walks or 2.4 km runs a la NAPFA tests 😉 Simple exercises such as leg extensions and thigh muscle static contractions can be done while not leaving your seat. You can even bring a yoga mat to work and find a corner to do some stretching. Do not be bothered by stares from co-workers – after all, it’s your health, and good health is priceless. Treasure it and maintain it while you still have it!

References

[1] Fetters, K. A. (2015). How your metabolism changes in your 20s, 30s and 40s. Women’s Health [online]. Retrieved from <http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/how-your-metabolism-changes-as-you-age> [Accessed 19 March 2016].

[2] JobsCentral. (2014). Over 60 per cent of Singapore workers gained weight since starting work [pdf]. Retrieved from <http://careerbuilder.com.sg/docs/Weight%20Gain%20at%20Work%20Press%20Release.pdf> [Accessed 19 March 2016].

[3] Hearn, M. (2016). Water and brain function: How to improve memory and focus. Water Benefits Health [online]. Retrieved from <http://www.waterbenefitshealth.com/water-and-brain.html> [Accessed 19 March 2016].

[4] Laskey, J. (2015). The health benefits of water. Everyday Health [online]. Retrieved from <http://www.everydayhealth.com/water-health/water-body-health.aspx> [Accessed 19 March 2016].

[5] Bjarnadottir, A. (2015). How drinking more water can help you lose weight. Authority Nutrition [online]. Retrieved from <https://authoritynutrition.com/drinking-water-helps-with-weight-loss> [Accessed 19 March 2016].

[6] Healthy Eating. (n.d.). Why do we snack. Healthy Eating [online]. Retrieved from <http://stress-snacking.eu/why-do-we-snack> [Accessed 19 March 2016].

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