Is Work Making You Sick? Tips for Staying Healthy at the Office
You spend around a third of your life at the office and for some, an eight-hour workday could be contributing to poor health by promoting a poor diet or sedentary lifestyle that may eventually be a factor for developing a devastating disease like diabetes or hypertension.
Staying healthy and fit despite your day job is possible but it takes a little doing. Here are a few ways to improve your health while you're at work.
Stay on the move.
A strong body of research shows that sitting for long periods of time is linked to a number of health problems, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and high cholesterol. The most important finding is that even regular exercise doesn't reduce the devastating health effects of prolonged sitting.
While you're at work, move your body every hour. Get up, stretch, and take a walk around the block or make some deliveries to other departments. Consider a stand-up desk, or invest in a stability ball to keep your muscles engaged and your body working.
Get involved in your company's wellness plan.
More and more companies, both large and small, are instituting company wellness programs to promote better health, which translates to better productivity and happiness at work. If your company has a wellness plan, get involved. These plans often include incentives for eating a healthy diet and getting exercise at work and they may promote getting a move on at the office by offering a lunchtime yoga class or encouraging taking walks during the day.
Bring your lunch most days.
If you're eating out most days of the week, you're probably consuming more calories than you should be, and the food you're eating may not be the healthiest. Instead of dining out at lunch time, bring a healthy lunch from home. You'll save money and you'll be eating more nutritious food for better weight control and a healthier body.
Keep healthy snacks on hand.
If the afternoon tends to see you craving sugary or salty snacks, forego the trip to the vending machine and reach into your desk instead. Keep a variety of healthy snacks on hand to help beat that mid-morning hunger or afternoon energy slump in a way that won't contribute to poor health. Some healthy options include fresh or dried fruit, nuts, and healthy granola bars. You can also keep some hummus and carrots, yogurt, or boiled eggs in the fridge to nibble on when hunger strikes.
Getting some fresh air during the day helps keep your mind clear and promotes relaxation and stress relief. During your breaks, head outside and sit in the sun for a few minutes or take a walk around the block. If there's a park nearby, enjoy a reprieve under a tree or next to a fountain.
Let's face it, work can be stressful, and stress contributes to unhealthy choices which can lead to health problems. When you're feeling stressed at work, do some deep breathing exercises, which instantly reduce stress hormone levels and leave you feeling calmer. Look at ways to minimize stress at work, such as by staying organized, maximizing your productivity to meet deadlines, and communicating effectively with co-workers and management to stave off potential problems.