Staying healthy on the job

Staying healthy while working in an office can be a challenge. Here are a few things you can do to remain active and fit in the workplace.

How can I stay active while at the office?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that the average adult gets 2.5 hours of moderate intensity exercise each week- a feat most Americans find hard to achieve, especially if they work a desk job.

A study recently found that even if you go to the gym regularly, it isn’t enough to counteract the health risks causes by a sedentary job,” said Katherine Farrimond, a physical therapist and manager of rehabilitation therapies at University Health System. “To combat the risks of a sedentary job, you should try to get up every half hour and walk around. This is really hard to do when we get involved in a project and don’t want to break the work flow. It definitely takes a conscious effort.”

Some things you can do to stay active even while working a desk job include:

  • Standing up when you are on a phone call.
  • Setting your watch as a reminder to stand up and move around every 30 minutes.
  • Consider walking to your co-worker’s desk to chat instead of using email or the phone.
  • Using your work calendar as a way to schedule workouts during your work day. (For instance you can do 10 squats one day, 10 chair push-ups or do sit to stands a few times a day in your office.)

How can I eat healthy during the workday?

Anyone that works in an office knows how hard it can be to avoid eating junk food during work. However, good nutrition is essential, especially if you sit all day at a desk.

“I am usually one of those people who work through lunch. I will wander into the break room and grab a brownie instead of eating a healthy meal,” admits Farrimond. “Because we sit all day, it’s important to eat lean. Pack your lunch and snacks the night before so you aren’t tempted to pick up fast food.”

A few healthy options you can pack for lunch include:

  • Lots of fresh fruit and veggies.
  • Salads with lean proteins such as chicken.
  • Avocado or sunflower seeds that can be added to salads for healthy fats that will keep you full longer.
  • Cheese sticks, a handful of almonds or walnuts or a boiled egg for high protein snacks.

Additionally, it’s very important to stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking lots of water.

“Dehydration can be detrimental to your brain,” said Farrimond. “When we get dehydrated, some areas of the brain that can be affected are thought processing, alertness, mathematical ability, eye-hand coordination, short-term memory, reaction time and general concentration. So really, drinking water will help your productivity!”

Additionally, poor sleep habits can also negatively affect your work productivity. That’s why it’s important to get the recommended 7-8 hours of shut-eye a night.

“It’s hard to get the recommended hours of sleep every night since we are all so busy,” said Farrimond. “However, carving out sleep time is important since so many people struggle with poor sleep or insomnia.”

Staying healthy while working looks hard but overall, doing just a few things every day can drastically improve your health.

“When you look at all of this as a whole it looks like a lot of work, but really it’s just little changes that once added up, can make a big difference in keeping you healthy overall,” said Farrimond.

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