Many people are under the impression that if they’re active outside of work then what they do during working hours is irrelevant. They couldn’t be any more wrong. Firstly being healthy doesn’t just relate to your weight; by definition it is being free from illness or injury. If you fall into bad habits in the office you can be ensured the risk of suffering from illness and injury will be increased.
The majority of us will spend most of our lives at work (take a minute to process that) – so it’s essential that we take the time to be healthy. I have written some tips to ensure that both your body and mind are given the best chance to remain healthy and operate at the highest level.
You Are What You Eat: On average put away at least a third of our total calorie intake whilst we are at work. What we put into our body has a bigger impact on our overall health than anything else – so think twice before inhaling that second packed of crisps…
It is important to pay close attention to what you eat at work and to regulate the amount of unhealthy fatty snacks. If your nutritional knowledge is poor then you must educate yourself – your body won’t accept ignorance and will still pack on the pounds regardless of whether you were aware or not!
Consider bringing in your own lunch, that way you know exactly what you’re eating and you will also massively keep costs down.
Drink lots of water throughout the day – this will help to speed up your metabolism, keep your concentration and energy levels up and also regulate your hunger. You should also try to eat foods that are good sources of water; oranges, grapes, watermelon, grapefruit and cucumber. They will keep you healthy, whilst hydrating you.
Keep active: Ever considered cycling or walking to work? Both your waistline and your bank account will thank you for it!
Whilst at the office you should make the effort to get up and move around whenever possible. You can start performing some desk exercises; such as leg raises, triceps dips or muscle flexing & relaxing. You could also get an exercise ball instead of a chair. The exercise ball will ensure you are using your stomach muscles and your core throughout the entirety of the day, which will result in you strengthening and burning calories all day!
You could also consider going to the gym a few times p/week on your lunch break. Little changes make all the difference…
Give your eyes a break: Staring at a screen all day is not the same as reading a book – there are lots of different colours and tones, your eyes constantly dart around and have to adjust from the bright screen to the darker shades of the notes on your paper. There is no evidence to suggest that this can cause long-term damage; but I know from experience that staring at a screen all day without breaks can lead to dizziness, dry eyes and fatigue.
The answer is simple…take breaks! Every half an hour or so you should look away from the screen for a minute – this doesn’t mean texting on your phone. Personally I like to look out of the window or walk to the kitchen to get a glass of water. That way you are moving around throughout the day too. By letting your eyes relax and re-focus you can feel refreshed and more focused on the task at hand.
Sit up straight: Ever wondered why your neck aches at work? Well the reason could be you don’t have the correct sight-line with your computer screen. This is easily solved by adjusting your seat and monitor height until they are in a position that is comfortable. ‘They’ say that the monitor should be about inches below your horizontal eye line – this should result in your neck being relaxed and tension-free in its resting position.
If your neck and upper shoulders are held in an awkward fixed position for prolonged periods of time then Tension Neck Syndrome can occur (TNS). This is very common for people who talk on the phone for long periods of time throughout the day. If you fall into this bracket, you may want to consider a headset to ensure you aren’t craning your neck or even worse balancing the phone between your shoulder and ear whilst you multi-task.
Good posture is also essential. You should find a chair that is ergonomically designed to help your posture. Additionally, you should have your feet firmly planted flat on the floor, whilst your back is straight.
If you are really keen to sort out your posture then you should consider replacing your chair with a medicine ball (as stated previously). This will not only work on your core, but it also forces you to sit upright and engage your muscles to support your posture – this will have huge long-term benefits.
Self awareness: To conclude, the most effective way to ensure you are healthy at work is to be self-aware. This involves knowing yourself and your limitations and doing your utmost to stay within those limits.
You should know when to take short breaks and even holidays. Nothing refreshes the batteries like flying to a different continent and not thinking about anything other than what factor sunscreen to lather on.
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