7 Ways to Get Healthier While You Work
The bulk of America’s workforce spends 13 hours a day or more sitting down. That number includes both hours on the job and time after work spent playing video games or watching TV. On the other side of the spectrum are employees who never do get a break like nurses, hairdressers or factory workers who spend their entire shift on their feet. Both groups face unique health challenges as a result of their occupation and if you are one of them, you can take some simple steps to help improve your health that may reduce illness in the future. Here are seven ways you can get healthier while you work:
1. Get some early morning (and afternoon) activity.
If you don’t have time to get a workout in at the gym before you clock in, take every opportunity you can find for a few extra steps. Park on the far side of the lot or a few blocks from the office and walk the rest of the way. If you take public transportation like a bus or subway, get off a stop early and power walk.
2. Have the right snacks on hand.
Staying as far as you can from the free doughnuts in the break room or a candy bar in the vending machine will pay off. Bring fresh fruit, nuts, low fat yogurt or granola to work for a snack. These types of foods will prevent swings in your blood sugar levels too, helping you avoid energy slumps and bad snacking later.
3. Bring your lunch.
Delivery or lunch out with your coworkers is fine from time to time, but the bulk of your lunches should really be made at home. Not only does it save you money, a well balanced sandwich on wheat or whole grain bread, fruit and fresh vegetables will be significantly lower in fat, salt and sugar than a super-sized burger and fries. You’ll feel more energized and able to focus by eating a lighter meal that is still filling.
4. Take breaks as you can.
You know that not every day is break-friendly. But even when things are nuts, if you can find even a minute or two to get away from the madness, take it. If you sit most of the day, get up and move. Walk around your office or cubicle, get down and do some push-ups or leg stretches. If you have been on your feet all day, find a chair to sit in and do a few back stretches to loosen tight muscles.
5. Oh look. It’s cake. Again.
If your office tends to celebrate birthdays and retirements frequently, you are more likely to find the temptation of leftover cake calling to you. Avoid the temptation of reaching for that extra slice or only indulge in these events once in a while as they add up over time.
6. Move during the day.
Workers who take brief five minute breaks every hour are just as productive as those who work several hours straight through. So don’t be afraid to get away from your computer and move around, jog up and down a flight of stairs or sneak in a yoga pose. You will think and work better because of it.
7. Team up with your coworkers.
There is always strength in numbers, and if you have worked for any time at all you know that there is always someone trying to be healthier. Join up with these people for accountability and support. Promise to bring your lunches every day, stop each other from giving in at the snack machine and walk together over lunch.
How employers are supporting better health
Employers are gaining awareness about the importance of employee health. It is no longer enough to offer a nice benefits package and low copays. Your bosses want to keep you healthy and working. Individuals as well as employers are looking to companies like Pathway Genomics to bring comprehensive wellness programs that integrate genetic testing into employee health. This helps employees identify their own unique genetic risk for disease development and make changes to not only get healthier but also stay healthy.
Article by Layla Davis