Get in shape during the workday? It is possible: we explain how.
The sedentary lifestyle and the lifestyle of Western societies are one of the main causes of overweight and obesity. If we add a poor diet to this, we have a cocktail that is not exactly good for health.
And it is that the change in life habits related to the “industrial revolution” first and the “technological revolution” second, has caused many individuals to have a sedentary job, which affects their health and general well-being.
The problems of sedentary work
The physical and psychological benefits of physical exercise and physical activity are numerous, but there are many people who do not do any sport and, in addition, have worrisome sedentary habits. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sedentary lifestyle is among the four highest risk factors for death. This same body states that between 1980 and 2008 obesity rates in the world have doubled due to this factor.
In Europe, the European Heart Network (EHN) has made a list of countries with the highest rate of sedentary lifestyle, and Spain is in fourth place with 42% of the population that does not practice physical exercise. People with a sedentary job (for example, office work) spend 40 hours a week in front of the computer. But later they come home and spend their leisure time connecting to the tablet, watching television, etc.
This behavior and these habits have negative consequences such as diabetes, heart problems, back pain, vision problems or being overweight and obese.
- Recommended article: ” Obesity: psychological factors involved in being overweight “
How to lose weight while you work
Fortunately, to avoid being overweight (and other health problems) it is possible to modify a series of habits that minimize the negative impact of sedentary work.
So if you spend long hours sitting at your work and you want not to gain weight and avoid the accumulation of fat, you can follow these tips.
1. Increase your NEAT
One of the best ways to lose weight is by speeding up your metabolism. This does not mean exercising only, which accounts for 15-30% of total caloric expenditure. Rather, the basal metabolism, that is, the calories that are consumed when we are at rest (because the body needs energy to perform essential metabolic functions, for example, breathing), accounts for 50-70% of our caloric expenditure.
One of the best ways to increase basal metabolism is through NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis), which are simply the daily activities we do and that affect the amount of calories we burn. For example, climbing stairs, or walking to work. Therefore, if your office is on the sixth floor, do not use the elevator. Also, if you can avoid the car and cycle to work, you will be increasing NEAT and therefore basal metabolism and calorie burn.
2. Do high intensity exercise
As mentioned in the previous point, physical exercise accounts for 15-30% of total caloric expenditure. However, not all forms of exercise help us consume calories in the same way. Weight training helps build muscle, which means that the more muscle mass, the more calories burned at rest.
In addition, intensity training also favors the burning of post-exercise fat, so that, after the training session, we continue to burn calories for the next 24 hours. This means that, while we are working in a sedentary way, our body takes advantage of it to recover, repair muscle tissue and burn calories.
3. Eat fat burning foods
To lose weight it is not necessary to live in “fasting mode” or eat only salads. Thermogenesis, that is, the caloric energy that we use when we digest food, represents 10-15% of total caloric expenditure and helps us burn fat. The body must be well nourished because physical activity or work requires that we have enough energy to carry out our tasks.
That is why it is good to eat some natural foods that help us to be more satiated, accelerate the metabolism and allow us to burn fat for different reasons.
- If you want to know what these foods are, you can read our article: ” 24 fat-burning (and highly healthy) foods “
4. Do not consume sugary drinks
If there are foods that are fat burners, there are also those that are the opposite, and sugary drinks are an example of this.
These types of drinks provide unnecessary calories and, in addition, cause the glycemic index to increase, causing what is known as hyperglycemia. an increase in blood glucose. This makes us have a greater need to eat when I spend a while favoring carving , and it causes us to continue eating foods rich in sugar and fat.
5. Take food from home
A good way to avoid overeating is to take your food from home. If we go to a restaurant at lunchtime with coworkers, we may exceed the daily calories needed. In addition, we run the risk of having the dessert that, generally, will provide an extra calorie.
If you take a tupperware with you to work, you can carefully select what you are going to eat. If you don’t want to get fat, you may choose healthier foods.
6. Eat five times a day
One of the keys to increasing thermogenesis is to eat five meals a day, which helps prevent excess calories from accumulating in just a few meals. By eating five times during the day, the body will spend more time digesting food and therefore increase caloric expenditure. That does not mean that it is necessary to eat five large meals, but that you have to spread the calories of a day in 5 meals.
Breakfast has proven to be essential for burning calories throughout the day, so skipping it is not a good alternative. If you want some ideas of healthy snacks, you can read our article: ” 7 healthy snacks (very easy to prepare) “