How we move, what we eat, and how we sit while working all have a massive impact on our health. We spend more waking hours at our job than we do at home, so it is crucial that we make sure our daily habits while working will benefit our health, or we may end up with a disease we weren’t expecting.
How do we do that? What healthy habits can you implement today?
How We Move
Maintain Good Posture
Whether sitting or standing, it is important that we have good posture during the workday. Keeping your spine straight and your head up will help to alleviate any extra pressure on your spine and lungs. Poor posture can cause a dip in energy levels, messing with your workplace productivity.
It may sound like a small change but having an ergonomic work environment is a big plus. Buying an ergonomic desk chair, desk, and even keyboard will help to prevent neck pain and carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrists and hands.
Your chair should be adjustable in height and depth so that it can fit your body perfectly. Your back should always touch the back of the chair for support. You shouldn’t slump your shoulders or be looking down at your computer screen. This means your monitor might need to be propped up higher or your desk should be taller.
An ergonomic keyboard has a more curved shape to it to allow for natural placement of the hands and it also has a cushioned wrist support at the bottom.
Good support of the back, wrists, and spine are important steps in protecting your health.
Get a STAND UP DESK! Lifesaver for me! I prefer an electric one with a foot rest bar.
Staying stagnant is very bad for us. Fidgeting might annoy people, but you should do it anyway! When sitting, move your position around keeping the blood flow circulating to all the extremities. When standing, shift your weight from one foot to the other.
This will also help with weight loss as any movement burns calories. You can even use your smartphone to download a short 5-minute desk workout video. These are so popular they’ve even earned themselves their own name…deskercising. Find your own favorite deskercise and do it daily.
Regular stretching sessions will also help your health. Learn a short yoga routine that you can do in front of your desk.
When we think of a wellness program, we often think that strength and cardio are the only aspects to consider. However, flexibility can be just as important to our health. According to the Harvard Health Publishing, regular stretching prevents injury to the muscles by keeping off excess strain and helps to keep you limber and have good balance.
How We Sit
Professional or not, we can spend many hours in our day sitting at our desk. This can be very detrimental to our health. Studies have linked sitting too long to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and even an increased cancer risk.
And if you think you are fine because you have a regular workout schedule, think again. Researchers have found that even if you regularly exercise, sitting for too many hours at a time is still harmful. That leads to some questions that need answering.
- How long is sitting too long?
- How can we get our work done without sitting so much?
Break up Your Time Sitting
Experts say that you should take at least 10 minutes every hour to stand, walk, and stretch, anything besides sit. This is a minimum. Of course, you can stand more but there again, you get into the second question. Getting all your work done can be a challenge when you aren’t sitting at your desk. So what is a hardworking, dedicated professional like yourself to do?
You can always suggest a walking meeting with your coworkers to break up the sitting routine and get some fresh air. There are also walking desks or transitional desks that can be used either sitting or standing. To take things one step further, you can even get bike desks, an under the desk elliptical machine, or an under the desk leg swing.
We’ve talked about ergonomic keyboards already. One of the options include a handheld version that allows you to walk around while you are typing. If you can’t take advantage of these ideas, just make sure you break up your sitting time with frequent and short moving breaks.
This handy calculator will tell you how much more calories you burn sitting vs. standing. These numbers are awfully motivating. According to the numbers, you burn about 30% more calories by just standing instead of sitting. Can you imagine if you did some sort of physical activity during that standing time? Those numbers would translate into pounds of fat lost over the span of a year.
How We Eat
Keep Your Blood Sugar in Check
After we eat, the last thing you want to do is sit down and spend an hour at your desk. Your blood sugar will spike which can eventually lead to diabetes. According to one diabetes study taking a quick 15-minute stroll after lunch will help to cut your blood sugar in half.
Drink Lots of Water
Make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated and your mind fresh.
Drinking plenty of water also helps to keep your metabolism running well, helps your digestive system to be on key, and is always the best choice when you are thirsty as it is calorie free. Water should definitely be your go-to drink during the workday.
Bring Your Own Lunch
Fast food is enemy number one. There are some healthier choices available at fast food restaurants but for the most part, you don’t want to eat anything on their menu.
Instead, consider bringing a brown bag lunch. You can pack a healthier lunch like a salad or a grilled chicken wrap like my Paleo Coconut Chicken Mint Avocado Wraps, which are so quick and easy to make and the flavors are to die for! Pair it with a homemade protein shake with collagen peptides. These types of light lunches will not only help you lose weight but keep you from being sluggish after eating. Another plus is that you will save money in the process!
Eat Healthy Snacks
Healthy snacking can be a challenge while we are at work, especially during the afternoon energy slump. Our cravings can be hard to control, and coworkers often bring unhealthy foods to tempt us.
Keeping chopped veggies or fruits in your desk drawer can also help you to fight the munchies and stay away from the candy bowl.
Whether you implement all or one of these healthy workplace habits, you will see a positive impact on your health. Of course, the focus is on adopting all the above simple changes but it can be hard to create new habits.
It might be easier to tackle just one of these small changes and when you have successfully made it your daily habit, move on to another, and then another until you’ve become a corporate wellness rock star!