Being at work shouldn’t damage your health. There are many simple, low-cost ways to incorporate health conscious activities into your work day without consuming extra time.
That’s the advice of Kandi Lannen, director of wellness at Priority Health. Lannen is responsible for helping the organization earn Wellness and Health Promotion (WHP) accreditation with performance reporting from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), which recognizes organizations whose plans demonstrate the ability to improve workforce health and reduce absenteeism.
Lannen notes that a study released earlier last year by the Institute of Medicine found that sedentary behavior, such as sitting at work, increases a person’s risk of cardiovascular issues, chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, and in some cases, even cancer. But Don’t get discouraged if you can’t fit in all seven every day – just focus on what you can do to maintain your health at work.
Here are seven ways to be healthy at work:
1. Take the stairs: Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible. While you may not be climbing enough stairs for a serious calorie burn, you are getting your heart-pumping and increasing the blood flow through your body.
2. Pack your lunch: Eating healthy at work is not always easy. While it may be easier to grab something from the cafeteria or a local fast food joint, instead, try to pack a healthy lunch the night before. Not only will you be giving your body proper fuel, but you also may save money.
3. Drink more water: It’s recommended that people drink between half an ounce to an ounce of water for each pound they weigh. To keep properly hydrated throughout the day, bring a 20-ounce refillable water bottle to work. And for proper hydration, you should fill your 20-ounce water bottle about 5 times during the day.
4. Set up an ergonomic work space: If a sit-to-stand desk isn’t an option for you at your current workplace, there are ways to ergonomically optimize the space you use. You’ll want to make sure your mouse, keyboard and monitor are in an ergonomic arrangement. And be conscious of your posture. Sit up straight and adjust your chair height so your feet can rest flat on the floor.
5. Schedule short standing breaks: If you have a FitBit, Apple Watch or Garmin, chances are you’re getting regular reminders to move throughout the day. If you don’t have one of these devices, you can still make sure you stand-up regularly with a variety of mobile apps on your smartphone. Some of the more well-known apps include Stand Up! The Work Break Timer for iPhone or Move it! for Android.
6. Stretch it out: Consider taking a ‘de-stress’ break and do stretches at your desk. Every hour or so, stretch your arms and neck muscles. You can do this by clenching your fists and stretching your hands straight out in front of you or rolling your neck gently from side to side.
7. Work out: Instead of using your lunch hour only for eating, use your break to go for a walk or bike ride. If you enjoy company while working out, ask a friend to walk with you or ask if your company offers employee wellness activities such as yoga or Pilates.