By Rochelle Vaisanen

Let’s face it, you probably charged through your years at university with little to no regard to living a healthy lifestyle. There were the endless cups of coffee and sugary treats to get you through the day and night, not to mention the happy hour and Cheap Tuesday drinks to celebrate surviving another group assignment. Sound familiar?

Although, still being a young gun (read: under 25 years) your metabolism was probably still running full steam ahead. I doubt you would have noticed any changes to your body with each packet of peanut M&M’s you gobbled down. It helps that Uni life is also fairly active – racing from class to class or campus to campus, and for anyone who spent time at QUT Kelvin Grove that hill is a workout by itself!

But fast-forward to the workforce, and it’s a different story. There’s a good chance your first job in the real world may come in the form of a swivel chair and a cubicle. Some days you may not move from that position from clock-in to clock-out – unless you’re on photocopying duties (side note: do people still photocopy these days?). If you find yourself in this predicament – locked away in your cubicle churning through work – there are some things you can do to keep active and keep the post-university bulge at bay.

1. Put on ya sneakers

I’m sure you’ve seen them: charging through the city in their corporate attire wearing sneakers. I’m sure you’ve also said to yourself – or out loud – that you would never do that. Well, you don’t have to. That is, you don’t have to wear your corporate attire. A lot of office buildings will have shower facilities or changerooms. Why not pack your outfit in a backpack and throw on your active wear to get to work? Start and finish your day by being on the move.

2. Be mindful

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Take a few minutes out of your day to practice mindfulness. There are some great apps to help guide you with this practice, and just a few minutes a day can have a number of positive benefits to your physical health, not just your mental health. Next time you reach for your smartphone to catch up on the World according to Instagram, choose instead to use that time to improve your health – just plug in your headphones and give it a go.

3. Take your lunch outside

One of the worst traps you can fall into is eating your lunch at your desk. Sure, you want to look like you’re working hard and impress the boss, but there is a usual expectation that you are allowed at least 30 minutes for a lunch break – so use it.

Multi-tasking is great, but this is one time when it can be detrimental. Without realising, you’ll have shovelled your leftover spaghetti bolognaise down your throat in a few minutes flat. So, instead of sliding straight back into your swivel chair head outside and find yourself some green space – or any space. Take your time to eat. Work can be hectic, and to stay mentally and physically healthy, it’s important to eat slow.

4. Pack a snack

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The peril of the workplace is the endless supply of sugary snacks. Be warned, if you work in a large office environment, it’s always someone’s birthday…cue the constant access to cake. If it’s not the cake, it’s the barrel of choc-chip cookies in the lunchroom. It’s so easy to reach for that cookie for a quick energy fix, but it’s not sustainable five days a week.

As you’ve learnt from your years at university, organisation is key. And that organisation applies to your eating habits, too. Instead of relying on the workplace to provide your daytime snacks, pack yourself a small bag of trail mix or some cut up fruit for an easy go-to snack. If you need more inspiration, check out this article.

5. H2O is Queen

If caffeine is King, then H2O is Queen. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with starting your day with a flat white, and then maybe a piccolo to top up the caffeine levels later in the day, but make sure you balance it out with plenty of water.

It’s recommended to drink approximately two litres of water each day, so if you have a designated desk at your office, buy yourself a kickass mega water bottle and leave it at work. Fill it up at the start of the day and set a goal to finish the whole bottle by the end of your working day. Why not get creative and mark out some mini goals for different times of the day to keep yourself on track? Healthline says just 500mls of water can temporarily boost your metabolism! Get drinkin’.

Are you already in the workforce and living a kick-ass healthy existence? What are your ways of keeping healthy mentally and physically in the workforce?

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