How to Stay in Shape at a Desk Job

How to Stay in Shape at a Desk Job

No one’s body was designed to work a desk job. We all need a minimum amount of physical activity to maintain our weight, and it seems almost impossible to do when you have to sit for at least 8 hours a day.

It might feel like the odds are stacked against you, but all you need to do is think outside of the box. By changing your approach, you’ll be able to incorporate more physical activity into your working life and keep the pounds from piling on while you’re tackling your next big project.

Consider Transportation

You might be able to get a healthier start to the workday simply by changing the way you get there. If you live within a few miles of your work, there’s no reason you can’t ride your bicycle there a few days a week – especially if the weather is nice. If you’re worried about sweat, wear your workout clothes. Bring a toiletry kit to freshen up, and change into your business attire after you get there. You may not be able to pedal your way to work every day, but doing so at least once a week is a great way to sneak in a little bit of a workout.

Lay Off the Email

How many times a day do you find yourself sending an email to someone who works in the same building? Try stopping by someone else’s office to deliver the message personally. If you need to, you can always print out a document and hand deliver it. Not only is this a great way to get out of your chair for a few minutes and stretch those legs, it’s also a courteous gesture that can improve communication in your workplace.

Earn Your Latte

Where is the nearest coffee shop to your workplace? Can you take a quick sprint down there for your afternoon pick me up? As long as you aren’t filling your coffee with added sugar and you opt for a lowfat dairy creamer or a dairy alternative, you may even find yourself at a calorie deficit by the time you’ve returned to your desk. The same goes for a quick lunch. If you’d like to eat out one day a week, try taking a walk to the nearest eatery and grabbing a protein packed salad with a low calorie dressing.

Pack Lunch (and Snacks)

You may not have control over a lot of things in your work environment, but one thing you do have control over is what you bring yourself to eat. Packing your lunch will give you the ultimate amount of control over your nutrition, and you’ll feel less tempted to put in a lunch order for something full of empty carbohydrates. You should also keep your own snacks at your desk. Instead of running for the vending machine when you have a craving, munch on some dried fruit or nuts. These snacks are rich in the nutrients that will help keep you going when lunch feels too far away.

Take Advantage

Many employers offer discounted (or free) gym membership to their employees. They know desk jobs aren’t always healthy, and they want you to have access to the tools that you need to keep yourself in shape. It’s also beneficial for employers who don’t want to spend a ton on health insurance due to employees who don’t have the resources to take their health into their own hands. Ask and see if your employer has a similar scheme in place.


It’s important to remember that staying fit and making healthy choices is more than a five day a week job. Balance out your decisions by using your weekends wisely. There’s nothing wrong with indulging once in a while (we all love tacos and Netflix), but make sure you have a plan in place to keep these indulgences down to a dull roar.

Tess Pajaron


With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and motivation.

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