Skip to main content

4 Ways to Stay Healthy While Managing a Full-Time Job

Buying lunch daily costs workers $2,000 a year, more money than people spend on both commuting and coffee

4 Ways to Stay Healthy While Managing a Full-Time Job

It’s easy to fall out of rhythm with a healthy routine of diet and exercise when you make the transition from college to the working world. Save for the lucky few of us who are never short on motivation, it can be hard to find the energy to prepare nutritious meals or get a great workout in when you work all day. There are steps you can take to keep healthy as you make the transition from spry college student to the all-too sedentary 9-to-5 life. 

Take a break from the lunch line

One of the biggest, easiest ways to keep healthy is to pack a lunch and bring it to work rather than constantly ordering out. One of the big drawbacks to this that people face (myself included) is the annoyance, however small, of actually packing lunch. To avoid waking up in the morning too tired to prepare lunch for the day, prepare your lunch the night before. Another way is to plan for the week ahead on Sunday. Cook anything you might want to bring and portion it in Tupperware that’s easy to grab in the morning before you go. That eliminates the hassle of daily prep work.

And if that’s not enough to convince you, consider the fact that, on average, buying lunch every day costs workers approximately $2,000 a year, according to a survey conducted by Accounting Principals, which, Business Insider says is more money than people spend on both commuting and coffee. That’s $2,000 (minus the cost of groceries) back in your pocket. So the lesson here: don’t be afraid to brown bag it.  

Give up your seat

Healthy living doesn’t end at lunch though. Consider this marvelously morbid headline from CNN: “Sitting will kill you, even if you exercise.” That report came on the heels of a recent study from Annals of Internal Medicine, which concluded “prolonged sedentary time was independently associated with deleterious health outcomes regardless of physical activity.”

Sitting for more than eight hours a day, for instance, increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 90 percent, according to the study. That’s terrifying, especially if you work at a desk all day.

So if you can, get yourself a standing desk and a high chair. That way you can alternate between sitting and standing (standing for eight hours straight is just plain unpleasant). Start the day standing to wake up. Give your feet a rest for a bit and then get back on up. Also, there’s chair yoga! Don’t be afraid to look maybe a tad silly to your co-workers.

Step up, take a stroll

But don’t stop there. I find it crucial to take afternoon strolls. Nothing too far or time-consuming, but a five-to-seven-minute walk around the immediate neighborhood is both a nice reprieve from work and a good way to keep active throughout the day so you aren’t just in a constant state of not moving. And count your steps too while you’re at it with help from a Fitbit. That way you can try to up the number daily (the more steps you take daily, obviously, the better).

Don’t leave exercise up to fate

Now, the best way to ensure you actually do all this is to schedule it. Keep organized. Know that on Sunday evening, you’re going to prepare the week’s lunches. When Monday morning rolls around, you know to stand at the desk from nine until 10:30 a.m., sit until lunch and then stand for another hour or two after that. Write in a 4 p.m. walk. While you’re at it, add your gym visit to your work schedule and go with the same commitment you have at the job. Staying healthy is, after all, hard work. 

Monster Wants to Know: How do you stay healthy while managing a full-time job? Share with us in the comment section.

Back to top