The typical full-time work week averages around 47 hours, about 30 per cent of our week. With all this time spent in our workplace, the environment and routine should be a healthy one. Unfortunately many people see too great a distinction between the active life they lead away from work, and sedentary office living, with tempting breakroom treats and rushed-through take-out lunches.
If you are going to spend a lot of time at work, you need to make sure you are living well, even amongst the stress and strain of deadlines and performance reviews. The good news: it's not as hard as you think. Try incorporating some of these simple principles and ideas into your average workday.
Make Hydration Stupidly Simple
Your body needs hydration to operate optimally; but coffee isn't going to cut it (coffee is actually dehydrating!). The healthy choice is a continual intake of good old H2O. To make it really easy on yourself, and so you don't forget or get too busy, keep a 1L water bottle at your desk at all times. Fill it up, as necessary, with fresh filtered water. A continual supply of water is particularly important for those who work on their feet and in active roles.
Take Five, Every Hour
By now we've all heard that sitting too much has dangerous effects on our health; it can raise your risk of heart disease, and has been linked to health conditions like high blood pressure and obesity. The trouble is; many of our jobs require working on a computer, at a desk, or sitting down for meetings.
Ideally, you would invest in a standing desk, or alternate through the day between sitting and standing to work, but even if this is not possible you can try to counteract the effects of remaining seated all day by walking around at least five minutes of every hour. You can still be productive! Take your phone and check email while you (safely) pace the lobby. Or ask a co-worker to go on a walking meeting with you to check-in about a project.
Take 40, Every Day
Our work culture today is very much focused on productivity in terms of hours put in, and not on what should be measured, "output." We are actually more proficient with our output when we take time away from the work. How many times have you come up with a brilliant solution, while not even "thinking" about the problem at all? Give yourself time to step away from your desk; you can not only re-charge, but give your body time to "think" in new ways. Take 20 minutes to eat your lunch away from your desk, and an additional 20 minutes to go for a walk. With just 40 minutes away, you come back refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day. You might also head to the gym during your lunch hour; it's a great way to fit a workout in, and to recharge your brain.
Live Actively At Work
I often detect this misbelief in the patients who visit me regarding their weight; it's a mistake to define your active life by the number of trips to the gym or blocks you ran in your neighborhood. Active living means taking every available opportunity to move your body; it means parking as far away from your office building as you have time for. It means taking the stairs and not the elevator to your office. It means walking to talk with a colleague, rather than emailing or calling. Try to live actively at work.
Stick To Healthy Eating
Communal work environments breed communal eating habits, often defined by that notorious breakroom treat. People love to bring donuts, leftover Halloween candy and freshly baked cookies and cake to work! That doesn't mean you need to indulge. Stay away from the breakroom, and that other devilish temptation the vending machine, by bringing your own healthy snacks from home. Try nuts and seeds, fruits and veggie sticks with hummus. Always have a healthy snack on hand; it helps curb cravings and keeps you going until your next meal. Avoid eating out in general by leaving your wallet at home, and bringing all of your food instead.
You spend so much time at work; every second should be a healthy one! I hope these tips have inspired you to make your workplace one of active, abundant living.
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Follow Dr. Allana Polo on Twitter: www.twitter.com/polohealth