How to keep fit when you work a desk job
“There’s lots of research into sedentary behaviour and we struggle to reverse sitting. Humans didn’t really evolve to sit - we had to go and find food, find firewood,”
Unless your racing your swivel chair up and down the office hallways every day, it’s not easy to stay fit at your desk job. We’ve asked Aquanation personal trainer Jake Williams how to keep your fitness goals on track while you’re doing the 9 to 5.
The biggest issue with desk jobs? Your butt is parked most of the time. Williams says being sedentary is a big challenge for achieving your health and fitness goals because your muscles aren’t being stimulated.
“There’s lots of research into sedentary behaviour and we struggle to reverse sitting. Humans didn’t really evolve to sit - we had to go and find food, find firewood,” explains Williams.
That might lead you to assume other roles are better for your body? According to Williams, that’s not necessarily true.
“There’s a bit of research coming out that people who work construction jobs and labouring are not really any better off than people who work at a desk. There may be evidence to contradict that now, but essentially this is because your body does get used to repetitive movements.”
The personal trainer explains whatever your daily routine may be, your body will become accustomed to it.
“If you wake up at 6am every day, and do whatever you usually do at work, your body gets used to it and it’s no longer a stimulus, so you’re not getting anything more out of it.”
Still, Williams advises that if you were to stop your daily routine, “you would definitely regress.”
The same principals apply to standing desks, often thought to be the solution.
“Standing desks in terms of reducing sitting are beneficial, however, if you get a standing desk, make sure you do have times where you are sitting otherwise you’re just sedentary standing,” advises the personal trainer.
Get off your butt and move, people. Yep, incidental exercise is key according to Williams.
The personal trainer recommends “getting up every 15 minutes, walking to go get a glass of water or making a cuppa, walking to the printer.”
He says finding excuses to break up your day is the best way to break up your sedentary state. And if you’re someone who deep dives into their work and the day gets away from you, Williams has got an easy solution.
“Set a timer on your computer or invest in a smart watch to remind yourself to get up and move, reducing sedentary behaviour.”
That’s right - get those steps up people!
Jake Williams is a Personal trainer at Aquanation with a Bachelor of Exercise and Sorts Science and is currently studying a Masters in Exercise Physiology at ACU. Learn more.