5 Things You Can Do at the Office for Better Health
Working eight or more hours a day in the office can take a toll on your health. Recent research shows that sitting for long periods of time increases your risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome, which includes high blood pressure and blood sugar, visceral fat around the waist, and high cholesterol. It also increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Before you point out that you may sit all day, but you work out in the evening, take note that regular exercise doesn't offset the risk of sitting still for two hours or more at a stretch.
The office takes a toll on your health in other ways too, including unhealthy snacks that many office dwellers indulge in, from the doughnuts in Accounting and the vending machine in the break room to the myriad potlucks and celebratory cakes. Then there's the stress that a job inevitably brings, which increases your risk for a number of diseases and reduces your quality of life.
You've gotta make that paycheck, but don't let it wreck your health. Here are some tips for staying in tip top shape despite your day job.
- Move Around
Get moving! Set a timer on your phone or computer to go off every hour, and when it goes off, get up and move around. Do some stretches, run your office errands, drink some water, do a couple of squats and jumping jacks. Every… Single… Hour.
- Stand Up
Consider a desk that can convert to a stand-up desk. Research shows that changing your posture from sitting to standing for intervals throughout the day can reduce back pain and activating those leg muscles helps to improve your blood sugar control.
- Dump the Soda
If you're addicted to your afternoon soda, you're doing a lot of damage to your body. Regular soda consumption is linked to higher blood pressure, dental problems, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, kidney stones, heartburn, liver problems, and the list goes on. Reach for some fruit-infused water or minty green tea instead. If you really need that caffeine kick, coffee or black tea is your best bet, and they even have some health benefits.
- Bring Your Lunch
By bringing your lunch to work, you'll not only save money by not eating out, but you’ll most likely be eating healthier food. Restaurant food — even a salad — is chock full of calories, sugar, and fat, which is why it tastes so delicious. Bringing lunch from home gives you total control over what you put in your body.
- Reduce Your Stress
When you're feeling particularly stressed out at work, you'll notice your blood pressure rising, your body heating up, your muscles tensing, and your heartbeat increasing. This is your body's natural stress response, and it isn't good for you. Deep breathing, meditation, and visualization are all easy exercises you can do on the spot to lower your body's stress response immediately. If you can exit the building for a few minutes, a walk around the block can also help reduce your stress and bring you back to the office feeling calm, clear-headed, and ready to take it on.