Staying healthy and active all day in the office is a big challenge for all employees. Especially considering that most of our modern workday is comprised of sitting for eight hours in front of the computer.
And while this is the reality that we live in, it is absolutely terrible for your overall health. Everything from your posture, to eye strain, to neck tension – all of these problems can affect your health.
By following a few essential tips, you can stay healthy and active during your working hours. This will improve your productivity long-term and maintain your focus on important work tasks.
Here are some simple ways that help you to stay healthy throughout your workday.
Pack Your Lunch
The brain needs nourishment to perform well, especially if you are working longer hours. One of the healthiest things you can do to ensure you’re getting that vital nutrition is to bring your lunch from home.
Food prepared from home allows you to stay in control of what you’re eating and can give you the edge you need to get through the day. And however tempted a resident of Kansas City may be to visit one of our fine restaurants, packing your lunch helps you avoid the highly processed foods, and it also gives you the choice to pick your favorite foods throughout the day.
Just the act of planning and selecting your groceries with the workweek in mind will prompt you to make healthier choices about what you want to consume. This effect can then snowball into a routine that adds massive benefit to your life and overall health.
This is also a great tip for anyone minding their budget, as you will save a pile of money over time.
Get Up and Move
The act of sitting in a chair all day and staring at a computer screen is a slow killer. Some experts even compare the cumulative hours of sedentary life as being on par with smoking as a negative impact on your health.
It also makes you sluggish and dull.
To combat this and help keep yourself active and healthy, you must spend some time away from your desk or chair. It is essential to take small breaks and leave your chair or desk for a walk just to refresh your mind.
A mere 5-minute break could make a make a difference in your overall health. You can also couple your breaks away from your screen with other tasks that have to be completed – like running that report over to sales or attending that meeting in-person.
You could even incorporate little fitness breaks into your day. Stand up and stretch, look away from the screen, practice proper posture, meditate. Anything to break the habit of sitting in the same position for hours on end.
Keep in mind how much time you actually spend sitting down at your desk. You would be surprised how quickly those hours add up.
Watch Out for Snacks
Tying into nutrition, it is essential to mind how much convenient snacking that you are doing throughout the day. It can be very tempting to leave a bag of chips at your desk, but if you’re not careful, you will find yourself devouring the whole bag before the day is over.
And it’s not just chips that are common in the workplace. Candy bars, sodas from the vending machine, birthday cakes, and more are all normal snack foods that people bring to their desk.
Avoid doing this at all cost because the calories add up quickly and you may not even be aware of it. Combine snacking with the sedentary sitting of the average workday and you have yourself a recipe for terrible health.
One way to avoid unhealthy snacking is by replacing the normal junk food with fruits and calorie-light vegetables like carrots or celery sticks. This way, you still get to enjoy food at your desk, but you are using healthy options instead.
Control Your Caffeine Intake
Also be mindful of is just how much caffeine you consume on a daily basis. It is extremely common for people to begin every day with a cup or two of coffee. On top of the sheer amount of caffeine, there is also the cream and sugars that go into our favorite morning drink. I am also guilty of this, but it does not have to be a bad thing.
A cup of coffee is perfectly fine, but you should try to limit it to just one. You do not want to become reliant on caffeine to function at your best. And for those of you who cannot stand caffeine-free coffee – there are alternative options that you might enjoy.
Hot tea is a popular option, but so is plain old H2O. Our bodies are mostly made of water and most people do not get enough of it. In fact, once you start to feel the sensation of thirst, you are already hydrated to a certain extent. It is recommended that you get 6-8 glasses of water per day.
This is a good rule of thumb, as it will keep you hydrated, prevent afternoon caffeine crashes, and will prevent you from overeating throughout the day.
Your health is essential if you want to work efficiently and if you want to live an enjoyable life. Since we spend nearly a quarter of our lives at work, we have to find ways to use that time to improve or at least maintain our health.
These tips are not an excuse for avoiding rigorous exercise before/after work – but hopefully they give you starting point for how to incorporate healthy habits into your workweek.