Staying fit while working an office job?

Hey everyone!

Well, I'm in the process of trying to quit smoking, self-harming, and reduce my alcohol intake. Tall order, I know. One way I've managed to help keep myself focused so far, and add to the overall healthy aspects of this lifestyle change, is exercise. Unfortunately, I work an office job, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, sometimes weekends, and by the time I make it home, I'm too mentally bushed to do anything much. But I really want to get fitter!

Does anyone have suggestions on how I can improve my fitness despite having such a heavy workload? Working out in the evenings is very difficult for me, though not impossible. I mainly need ideas on how to increase energy and motivation, as well as any suggestions on ways to exercise a little while at the office (though I can't stand up much there, have to stay seated almost the entire time). I'd also love to hear what you find easiest after a long day at work when you gotta work out.

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  • Try going out for a jog at night when you get home, or even early in the morning before you go to work. Just 30 minutes a day makes a big difference. If you don't like it then maybe you could just try some exercises you could do at home that you would prefer. Just look up some advice on youtube on how to exercise at home efficiently.
  • I used to work an office job like that too - I used to try and pack my lunch most days so that I could just eat at my desk, and then use the rest of my allocated lunch break to get out and go for a walk. Even that was helpful for my fitness - there was a lovely park right near my offices, so I would just go out and stroll around. You could always go running too if you want to do that - just bring a change of clothes to work and a packed lunch.

    You could also check if there are any established gyms super close to your work - that way if you have an hour for lunch, you could go there, work out for half an hour and shower and head back - all reasonably manageable! :)
  • Since I also do a lot of office work (I'm a programmer) our company offers us a discounted gym membership and we can work out for a big in between our working hours. Maybe try to talk to your boss and see if anything can be worked out, you never know! :P
  • I would try to get a walk on lunch break. You could also invest in a stationary bike at home or something if you don't want to go anywhere else after work.
  • You could try walking early in the morning to work. If you can, jogging within your neighbourhood or in a treadmill is also good. You could also try taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Every 30 minutes or an hour of sitting, stand and walk around for five minutes. Some offices have utilised a standing desk wherein you stand while working. This is a nice variation and greatly reduces the risk for some diseases.
  • Since time is an issue, I would suggest working out at home.  That being said, you could look online for workouts like TaeBo, Zumba. 
    Something that I've heard works wonders is Leslie Sansone "walk at home" videos (via Youtube).  You don't have to go anywhere, you can do it in the privacy of your own living room, it's free, and it works.  If you're willing to give those videos (or find whatever you are into) a try, they could help you.
    It's hard to get motivated to work out, if it were easy, the whole world would look fit and trim.  Just try to start a little bit, even if at first it is only 5 minutes a day, especially the walk at home, and when you get more energy, you'll want to do more and more.
  • I do a lot of chair exercises in the office. If your office is not too conservative, maybe you can try a standing desk or an exercise ball for a chair sometimes? I also try to sneak in a couple of exercises during lunch or any breaks I can get to keep my metabolism going.

    If you don't live too far away, you can also ditch your car and start riding a bike or walking to work!
  • @tuebec great suggestions here. do you get a lunch break? even a 30 min brisk walk each day can help....exercise balls are great too. check youtube for examples on how to get great workout. planks too. wow....core body workout there.

    glad you are doing so well and keep it up!
  • Try to commute back and forth from work by foot or bicycle if that's possible. If you can get to work using public transportation, that may be another option for you. As you'll still need to do some walking to get to your destination. Also, try to walk around a block or two during your lunch break. This is also a great stress reliever. 
  • Thank you everyone, I didn't expect so many fantastic suggestions. I do try to walk on my breaks when I can, and sometimes when I come home, though I'm usually too tired.

    I have a lunch break, but it is only a half hour, and my office is not near any parks or gyms.

    The exercise ball at the desk is a good idea though, I've thought about it once or twice but never went any further. Biking to work might be an option for me, though I'm worried I might calculate my timing wrong and be late?

    Thanks again everyone!
  • Why don't you walk to your workplace? I do this as well, well I am unemployed but never use the tram or the bus (mostly because I don't like crowded places). It may not seem much, but it actually made me lose weight and get fitter. I recommend that you do this, sometimes walking on the city's streets at night listening to good music is the best thing at that moment.
  • When I was still working an office job, since I was always sitting in front of the computer all day,  during breaks, I would just try to brisk walk outside our building. It was really effective. 
  • @Shammy that's such a great initiative by your company there! It's nice when organizations have that social responsibility too, and they offer programs like that. I wish that my office had done something similar, as I think a lot of the time for people they are put off joining a gym by te expense of it.
  • @kassie1234 I know, we also have a lot of extra perks that made me choose this company! It's not the fact that I save up money by having the gym membership discounted and that I get to go home on my birthday, it's the thought that counts. It made me realize that our CEO really cares about the workers, not just about the money.
  • That does sound like a pretty great arrangement, Shammy. I wish our company was that... considerate. I kind of work for a really unpleasant place. But hey, gotta work, gotta eat. ^^; Thanks for your suggestions!
  • I always walk to work, it takes me around half an hour each way and is a great way of making sure I get enough exercise. It's a 5 minute drive when the roads are clear but during morning and afternoon rush hours, it can easily take 20 minutes. 

    Another advantage of walking is that my journey takes exaclty the same amount of time each morning. I never get stuck in traffic or miss the bus. That means I'm never late for work and even won a workplace award for my timekeeping. 
  • Totally agree, Shammy - when you know that the CEO of your company is not just about revenue but truly does care about the health and wellbeing of their employees, you know you're in a good place! I bet their turnover of staff is pretty low too, if there are benefits like that in place. I firmly believe that if an employer looks after their employees then they are more inclined to be happy, productive workers!
  • You make a good point, Missbishi! Maybe on one of my weekends that I have off I should try walking to work and just time it both ways to get a feel for it. Might help lower my anxiety about becoming late from walking too slowly or getting over-tired.
    Thanks for the input again everyone!
  • When working eight hours a day, five times a week, we usually
    feel tired and drained so we just lie down in bed and sleep, rest or watch
    television, so it is really hard to control and maintain an ideal body weight. Diet
    is very important and we should watch what we eat since we have slow metabolism
    and we are getting older. At home or after work, thirty minute exercises could
    be done to have physical activity despite a busy work schedule. It is great to
    take exercise and diet as part of our daily routine to control our weight.
    Having lifestyle diseases will have a lessened risk and as we grow old, the
    onset of these diseases will be slower. Discipline is needed to get started and
    work our way in incorporating a healthy lifestyle, with adequate exercise and
    following a healthy diet.   

  • You can try brisk walking even just for a few minutes after you wake up outside your neighborhood. Then you can also do the same when you go home after work and take a short walk before eating dinner. That is what I am doing when I still have a full time work in the office. I cannot engage myself to perform other form of exercises because I am always busy at work. You can also try to stretch your arms while you are sitting in your office chair. Or take a walk even for a few minutes at the office lobby during coffee breaks. It will also help to keep you going to do your work for the day.
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