8 Simple Steps to Stay Healthy at Work
You do have enough time to exercise, really…
Especially if you make moving more a priority throughout the day, even if that’s a work day.
Most of our waking hours are spent in the workplace. So what we do (or don’t do for that matter) during those hours can have a profound impact on our overall physical health. When you neglect exercise you’re putting both your physical and mental health at risk, which can negatively impact your productivity and effectiveness at work.
One great solution? Work physical activity into your everyday routine. In fact, researchers found that people who exercise during the day are more likely to perform better at work. It is also important to keep your body healthy when at the office and working in close quarters. Here are 8 unbelievable tips to staying healthy and fit at the office:
- Take short active breaks during the workday.
It is all about making movement a natural part of your day. Taking short breaks to be active, even if you are just walking, will help you shed extra calories and help you concentrate during the time when you are working. When you reach a breaking point, make a point to move around-whether it is walking around the building or walking up and down the stairs- instead of sitting at your desk. One study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that people who take walking breaks during work feel more enthusiastic, less tense and generally more relaxed.
- Drink more water.
Staying well-hydrated is crucial to your productivity, energy levels and overall health. Drinking water helps you stay alert and refreshed, and promotes clear thinking. Setting water drinking goals for yourself is one way to keep track of the water you consume. For example, drink two 16.9 fl. oz. bottles of water before lunch and two after lunch. That gives you roughly about 2 liters which is what the health authorities commonly recommend.
- Pace while you’re on the phone.
Most of your work day usually consists of you sitting down. Unless you need to be on your computer at the same time, you might as well take advantage of the opportunity to get your blood flowing. Every extra step counts and will be a much appreciated break for your back and your muscles, and you may find that small movements help keep you focused.
- Keep your work space clean.
The average desk is home to hundreds of times of more bacteria than a toilet seat—that is pretty gross. Keep your work area neat and organized. Take five minutes at the end of each day to tidy up your desk. Having sanitizing wipes and spray at your desk to wipe down the surfaces often will help disinfect any bacteria that are on your desk.
- Replace your desk chair with a stability ball.
It might look silly or out of place, but it actually has a lot of health benefits. It helps you practice better posture and sitting on a stability ball strengthens your abdominal muscles because those are the muscles your body uses to compensate for changes in balance. You’re basically signing up for great posture with a low-intensity abdominal work out all those hours you’re sitting down, aka killing two birds with one stability ball.
- Limit your caffeine intake Most people start their morning off with coffee before leaving the house and again when they get to the office. It is important to drink coffee and other caffeinated beverages in moderation. Try to reduce you intake to one cup each morning to avoid an afternoon caffeine crash. Limiting yourself to one cup will drastically reduce the amount of calories and sugar intake.
- Eat snacks throughout the day vs. a heavy mid-day meal.
For optimum health and energy, make sure to keep healthy snacks at your desk that you can munch on when hunger strikes. Going several hours between meals can cause blood sugar levels to drop and lead you to grab the nearest food or treat in arm’s reach. Instead, opt to eat something every two to three hours to keep your blood sugar steady and energy levels up throughout the day. Fresh or dried fruits, unsalted nuts, yogurt and string cheese are all great options that are packed with protein.
- Do (subtle) stretching and workouts at your desk.
Stretching throughout the day can help ward off pain and stiffness while boosting your energy levels and alertness. Torso twists, leg extensions, standing up and sitting down several times without using your hands are ways to stretch your legs and lower back; while shrugging your shoulders and circling your wrists and hands in air circles releases tension through your neck and shoulders. Stretching at your desk can sometimes be awkward, so the thought of “subtle desk workouts” sounds even more unpleasant. Luckily, all of these stretches and workouts can be done either sitting or standing. Researchers have found that even one-minute spurts of physical activity throughout the day can be beneficial. Here are some ideas for subtle workout at your desk from Fitness Magazine:
Flex or tighten your abs and hold for 30 seconds. Release, and repeat 10 times.
Squeeze your glutes and hold for 30 seconds. Release, and repeat 10 times.
Buy a hand gripper and use it at your desk to work out your forearms and hands.
What are your tricks to staying healthy and fit at work? Share with us in the comments.