Original story by Dwayne Duprey of Orangetheory Fitness Nashua. Find them on Facebook and Twitter.

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Image from www.lovingtheclimb.com

We all know that a couch potato is at risk for many health complications including obesity, cardiovascular problems, back pain, etc. Many of us wouldn’t consider ourselves a couch potato, but inadvertently our daily habits provide us with the same effects. Many people spend hours in their cars commuting to work everyday and then go into an office where they sit at a desk for a majority of the day. All of this sitting puts you at risk for many of the same health complications of the couch potato.

To counteract these effects there are some things you can do during your work day to keep up your fitness and stay healthy.

Move: Take a walk. Instead of emailing a coworker, walk over to their desk or office. Take the stairs. Get up from your chair without using your hands. Sit with good posture. Use your muscles whenever you can. Do ankle circles under your desk.

Bring your lunch and snacks: Keep enough healthy food choices at work so that when you start to feel tired you don’t have to resort to sugary, fatty vending  machine snacks. These can make you feel more tired and lead to even more eating. When you crave something sweet keep some raisins or dried apricots in your desk for those times. Just feeling hungry? Keep protein snacks such as apples with peanut butter or carrots and hummus or a cheese stick. When you do have to go out for lunch look for menu items that are closest to their natural form as possible (i.e. not processed).  Then, rely on your healthy snacks for the afternoon munchies.

Keep Moving: Take half of your lunch break to go for a walk or a run if you can. If neither of these is an option, take the stairs. Do something to elevate your heart rate even if it’s only for 5 minutes. Studies have shown that even 5 minutes of physical activity each day, which elevates your heart rate, will makes a big difference in your overall health.

Many people have lifestyles that make it hard to stay physically active. Make an effort to squeeze in time during your day to keep up your health. Chances are someone else in your office is looking for ways to do this as well and you can work together to encourage each other. Working out in groups can be a powerful thing.