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January 7, 2016 / Stephanie Anderson

Commit to your health with smart fitness ideas for the office

shutterstock_290091509Millions of people vow to start the new year with increased resolve to improve their health. Unfortunately, losing weight and getting fit is one of the resolutions most often broken, according to Time.com. For those of us who work in an office, this isn’t surprising. When you sit in one place for the majority of the day, physical fitness is bound to suffer.

I’ve been thinking about this sedentary office lifestyle and how it affects my friends and family, so I reached out to fitness expert Andrea Jones for some easy tips. She is the co-founder and chief marketing officer of Alchemy, a hot new group fitness concept in Minneapolis and she knows her stuff!

Her very first suggestion: seek accountability.

“Whether it’s a workout buddy or a clean-eating friend, your healthy habits are more likely to stick if you share your commitment to being healthy with a colleague,” says Jones.

You can even take this idea one step further and work with HR to create some optional office-wide challenges. For example, start a walking club or challenge coworkers to bring healthy brown-bag lunches for an entire month. Last year we hosted the “LinkUp Fitbit Challenge,” which was a great way to get motivated and have fun doing it!

On the subject of eating, do you ever feel like the overflowing availability of treats in the breakroom is constantly tempting you? It’s time to kill the donut and bagel frenzy with a little smart planning.

“You don’t have to be a buzzkill walking into an office party or breakfast meeting, counting your almonds and apple slices, but you can be the change,” Jones says. “Bring fresh or dried fruit and nuts, hard-boiled eggs, or sliced turkey and cucumber roll-ups for a refreshing, delicious and healthy alternative.”

Snacking healthy and surrounding yourself with positive influences are great first steps for people who work in an office environment. Next, it’s time to get out of the comforts of the adjustable chair and get moving.

“Carve out time on your calendar for a workout,” suggests Jones. “Wake up an hour before work, make it a lunch date, or swap happy-hour drinks for a group fitness class. It’s trendy, it’s healthy, and it will make you fitter than the cocktail and cheese curds route.”

In addition to physical health, mental health is equally important to your overall well-being. Jones recommends a smart exercise to shift your outlook and improve your attitude.

“Take a page from the 5 Minute Journal and spend a few minutes when you wake up to write down what you are grateful for and what would make today great,” she says. “As you wrap up your day, jot down at least one thing that made today amazing and ask yourself, ‘What would have made today better?’ Try this exercise for a week and you’re bound to be a better version of yourself by week’s end!”

Finally, Jones suggests simply letting go. “The excuses, promises of commitment and guilt are weighing you down. If you are singing the same sad tune from last year, let it go,” she says. “Today is the day to make a change. Want to drink more water? Do it. Need some motivation? Join us at Alchemy for the 365 Challenge. It starts Monday.”

Andrea Jones is co-founder, owner, and chief marketing officer at Alchemy, and is vice president of the Union Fitness CrossFit studios in Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, and St. Paul. You can follow her on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn.