How to Stay Healthy at Work
Being physically active and eating well can be challenging in an office environment. Between the stress of deadlines, being seated at a desk, limited cafeteria options, and a general lack of awareness about healthy behaviors, it can be hard to know where to begin to create a work environment that supports your fitness goals.
Here are seven implementable steps to help you stay healthy in the workplace.
Use a standing desk
One of the biggest problems with offices is the requirement to be sedentary and in a seated position for 8 hours of your day. A standing desk can be a great solution that encourages more movement and addresses some of the postural issues of sitting in a chair. Standing has been shown to increase energy and lower blood sugar, two serious positives for your health.
Schedule walking meetings
Taking work calls while walking and even scheduling walking meetings and brainstorms for those times you don’t need to be stuck to a computer is an excellent way to increase your daily activity and sun exposure, and encourage healthy habits amongst your coworkers.
Pack your lunch
Packing your lunch is a cost-effective way to ensure you get balanced nutrition while you’re at work. Eating out makes it impossible to control the quality of the food you’re eating and whether you’re getting adequate nutrients. Taking a packed lunch also takes one decision out of your day, so you’re not forced to decide between the salad or pizza in the lunch line after a stressful morning. Click here to learn our weekly meal prep strategies.
Don’t eat at your desk
It is important to be in a “rest and digest” state when you eat your healthy packed lunch. Otherwise, your body may have a hard time digesting and absorbing the food you’re eating. Stepping away from the desk, taking the time to chew your food, and eating in a relaxed state can be a game-changer for improving digestive issues.
Set a step goal and walk a lap every hour
As humans we are made to walk. However, the convenience of modern life often means we do very little walking in our day to day. Walking is extremely beneficial for improving blood flow and recovery, as well as enhancing your Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), i.e., energy burned outside of the gym. A fun way to incorporate more walking in your day is to set yourself a daily step goal (start small and build up) and taking a 5 minute walk each hour (it will also improve your productivity!).
Save treats for special occasions
It may seem like just about every day there’s cake for a co-workers birthday or donuts and bagels for breakfast. It can be easy to let these little treats slip into your daily food intake when you’re constantly surrounded by them. But these daily sugar hits don’t support your goals and mental acuity, and they lose their significance when consumed every day simply out of habit. Try taking the mindset that you will enjoy your treats on special occasions, and not in the mundane day-to-day. What’s better: dry grocery store cake in the office break room, or a home-baked birthday cake to celebrate a family member?
Keep a water bottle on your desk
Are you drinking water throughout the day? It's great to shoot to consume ½ your body weight in ounces as a target, as proper hydration is essential for energy balance, nutrient usage, and cleansing. One way to make sure you do this is to keep a large water bottle on your desk. If you know you need 80oz of water daily then it’s as simple as drinking 3 of those 24oz bottles during the workday, with an extra glass or two thrown in morning and night.
Simple behaviors like these will go a long way in making your office a healthier place. If you’re like most of us, you spend a lot of time at work, so you need to make sure your office habits are aligned with your health and fitness goals to see great results!
These seven suggestions are a great general starting point, but we all have different work situations to contend with. Find an OPEX Gym near you for your very own “healthy at work” plan!