Technology has eliminated as many as 2,000 of the calories that office workers used to burn each day, says James A. Levine, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic and author of Move a Little, Lose a Lot. No wonder the average American is 26 pounds heavier today than a generation ago. To start burning calories at work, Levine suggests you embrace these four work-based strategies.
1.) Meet on the Move
Instead of booking a conference room, ask colleagues to join you on a walk. Seriously. Just make sure the topic is relatively informal—brainstorming, not budgets, for example. Even an easy pace burns 10 times more calories than sitting for an hour—150 vs. a measly 15.
2.) Get on Your Feet
Stand up while talking or typing. (You may need to request a headphone or long cord, or a podium for your keyboard.)
3.) Find a Partner
A co-worker with similar fitness goals won't push for fast-food breaks and will help you stay motivated. Maybe you can both buy pedometers and see who gets in the most steps each day. If you have iPhones, there's a free app called Walk 'n Play that tracks your movements and pits you against a friend or a simulator.
4.) Tackle Takeout
If you eat with your co-workers, offer to order lunch for the group. That way, you'll control your options. In fact, you're probably not the only one who would appreciate the healthier choices.
Bonus Tip: Three Healthy Snacks Worth Keeping in your Drawer
- Tuna Packets: High in protein, low in fat and carbs, nearly perfect.
Our Pick: StarKist Chunk Light Tuna
- Cereal: Stash a box of high-fiber cereal, along with a few disposable bowls and spoons.
Our Pick: Kellogg's All-Bran Bran Buds
- Nutrition Bars: Your best bet is to find bars that have a healthy balance of protein, carbs, fiber, and healthy fats.
Our Pick: Met-Rx Protein Plus bar