A desk jockey is one who works at his or her desk for extended periods of time. If that’s the case, then I am quite the expert. I spend between 12 and 16 hours a day sitting at mine. For people who don’t get a lot of physical activity, how can we improve our health? Well, that depends on our motivation.
Fitness for the Desk Jockey
I know not all people who are tethered to their desks are out of shape. This is more for those who are like myself who find it difficult at times to get away. Sometimes the motivation to do what’s good for you just isn’t there. Trust me, I know.
Here are seven ways I add more to health and fitness throughout my day as a desk jockey who works and plays at his computer.
1. Make Time, Even if it’s Short Breaks
Make the most out of any breaks you take. If you don’t get any, force yourself. It’s not healthy for you to remain in one position for extended periods of time without moving about. In fact, it was one of the biggest contributors to my heart issues back in 2016.
Every day, I get up after about an hour and a half or so and do about 15 minutes worth of exercise. Mostly, this is because my knee is bad and I can’t sit for too long without it hurting. My routine consists of:
- About .7 miles of walking (or the distance it takes to listen to three fast-paced, motivational songs)
- A set of lying leg raises
- A set of push-ups
- A set of resistance band curls at 25 pounds
- A set of standing toe touches to wind it down
I do this about four times a day during breaks. I’m not ripped by any means, but I can tell you the difference in my chest, arms, legs and stomach has been worth the effort.
You don’t need a lot of time to get the heart pumping. The key is to get moving as often as possible. While this may be difficult for the desk jockey, it’s not impossible.
2. Combine Your Activities
I often try to combine what I am doing at my desk with some kind of exercise. For example, one of my favorite pastimes is to binge watch shows on Netflix. There’s nothing wrong with adding in some exercises while watching my shows. If you can keep a workout going for the length of an entire episode of Star Trek, you’re getting a decent workout.
Not everything can be combined with being a desk jockey, though. For instance, I can’t very well create content for clients if I am in the middle of doing jumping jacks or push-ups. In this instance, I usually take my breaks after I am done with a particular job for a client.
If you’re feeling inclined, you can always try one of those standing desks. Personally, I rather like my office chair and I am too lazy for something like that. However, you might find it of some use.
3. Snack Healthier
One of my biggest problems in the past was snacking on terrible foods, especially for a desk jockey who didn’t get much activity at all. At any given time, I would have bags of chocolate or boxes of cupcakes next to me.
Although I still have goodies nearby, I limit how much of them I eat. I also try to have some kind of fresh fruit in the house to snack on if I need. A medium-sized peach will fill you up faster than a Hershey bar…and at a fraction of the calories.
Find healthier things to munch on while working or playing at your desk. Lately, I’ve been getting on with sugar-free jello. It works great for those who have an oral fixation and need to be snacking.
4. Eat Proper Portion Sizes
One of the most important things to consider whether you’re a desk jockey or not is portion control. By slimming down the amount I eat during meals, I quickly lost 20 pounds. I try to keep to “suggested” serving sizes as on the package and keep my calories to around 300 for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I’ve said it before, “an entire pizza does not a serving make.” This is why I can enjoy many of the foods that are out there and still lose weight. In fact, my blood pressure is even lower than it used to be despite going a little high for the sodium intake every day.
When you’re sitting at your desk, realize that you’re not getting enough physical activity to burn away everything you’re eating. Keeping it low and logical helps keep you healthy.
5. Eat Less Fast Food
Another huge contributor to gaining weight and becoming unhealthy was the amount of fast food I used to eat. Pizza, burgers, Taco Bell and other food stuffs were a staple for me for a very long time. As a result, I was nearly 290 pounds and had poor cardiovascular health.
Now, I simply make my lunches the night before, freeze and eat them while working at my desk. Not only do I love cooking, but it’s a hell of a lot healthier than picking up food from the drive through window. Plus, it’s often cheaper in the long run – especially if you add in things like gas money and time when driving to fast food restaurants.
It’s OK to indulge once in a while. I still have Taco Bell on occasion. Just don’t let it become a regular routine.
6. Keep Snacks Away from the Desk
One of the most brilliant pieces of wisdom I can pass on is to keep snacks away from the desk. I know some of you might have the will power to ignore the candy calling your name. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. I find it very effective to store goodies and snacks in the kitchen and away from the desk.
When it’s habitual, you can easily eat a ton of junk that is within arms reach without thinking about it. Before you know, 20 Reese’s wrappers are littering your desk. It’s often best to eliminate temptation altogether, in my opinion.
Now the only things I have next to my desk is vitamin water and liquor-filled chocolates. These are the two things that I do not want anyone else to touch –because they are mine!
7. Gamify Fitness
Gamification is when you turn a particular process into a game. You’ll see a lot of businesses doing this today as it adds a layer of engagement and entertainment to working. Now, a desk jockey at home might not have the same competition as say in an office environment. However, you can still gamify fitness.
I use Exercise.com, MyFitnessPal and Fitbit quite regularly. I like competing against others to see where I stand. In this instance, it’s nothing more than bragging rights. However, I still feel good when I perform better than other people on those systems.
Another aspect of gamification comes from trying to beat my personal records. That’s why I use Exercise.com. Every repetition I do for exercise during my breaks benefits breaking a personal record later on. And that’s what engages me.
I’m all about gamifaction for just about anything. It’s a good way to keep people motivated to continue whether it’s being productive at work or maintaining your health. The trick is to find something the turns health and fitness into something fun for yourself.
It Starts with Effort
You don’t have to be a genius to know health and fitness is vital for everyone. What’s the point of working yourself to death as a desk jockey if your time is up sooner than it should be? It took my heart to stop to see what I was doing to myself. Hopefully, you can make changes before that happens.