We all know that the standard office is not the healthiest of environments, and a full 8 hours with little to no movement can lead you to form some unhealthy habits. What with the snacking peer pressure, the lack of movement, the constant need for a caffeine fix and not to mention Friday night team drinks. And I’m not letting the self-employed off here; working from the sofa (or god forbid the bed), sat on a stool in Starbucks or up working late to meet deadlines.
Don’t worry though – there are things you can do to make the day job a healthier and happier place to be. Here’s my Top Tips to staying healthy in the office…
Drink more H20
Make sure you are getting your 6-8 glasses of water during the working day. And remember this doesn’t necessarily have to be your standard glass of tap water, you could try infusing with some fruit, or try some herbal tea’s – just make sure you are avoiding sugary cordials & lots of caffeine (I allow myself one coffee around 9am).
Give office snackers the elbow
Oh come on now, not literally, it’s just, I know how easy it is to succumb to peer pressure in the office. Believe me, I know what it’s like when someone says, ‘oh go on, don’t be boring, have a little slice’ – be it Julie’s birthday, some leftover biscuits Rogers wife was baking at the weekend or Joe who’s popped out to buy donuts because he’s having a stressful day – the office can be a pretty sinful place. So make sure you have some healthy snacks in your bag to pull out in these situations, a handful of nuts & an apple, a date and nut bar or my favourite of the moment Naturally Sassy’s brownie – but most of all remember, if you’re not hungry – you really don’t need to eat.
Ever sit in front of your computer screen at lunch scraping away at the last morsel on your plate not even realising where the rest of your lunch went? You’re not alone. If you can, take yourself away from the computer screen to eat, see the colourful food on your plate and focus on every mouthful, chewing slowly. You’re more likely to take your time & enjoy your food, which means you are less likely to overeat and will be more satiated after lunch.
Go for a lunchtime walk
Try to get out of the office after you have eaten for 15minutes, however if you can’t spare 15 minutes a five minute stroll is better than nothing. Walking after lunch has a multitude of benefits including aiding digestion, improving blood circulation, stimulating your metabolism and helping to control your blood sugar levels. And a bit of Vitamin D never harmed anyone right?!?
Wash your hands
Obviously washing your hands after going to the toilet is a no brainer but some people think a quick rinse under the taps and a shake to dry is enough, however, we should really be washing our hands more thoroughly, use an antibacterial soap and lather into your hands for at least 20seconds before thoroughly drying. It’s also a good idea to keep some antibacterial gel at your desk as our keyboards and phones often carry a high amount of germs.
Avert your eyes
Its a good idea to look away from your screens every 20minutes, look at an object far away for 15 seconds, then a closer object for 15 (not your screen) before getting back to work. On top of this take a regular break – preferably every hour – from your screen for a few minutes. This is the perfect time to make yourself some water, a herbal tea or to visit the bathroom (you’ll need to after all that water you’ll be drinking!).
Sit up straight
We often try to make ourselves more comfortable at our desks by slouching as sitting up straight seems to take way too much effort, but really, once we make sitting up straight the norm it will feel much more comfortable and in the long run will prevent us from getting any back pain.
Sitting in one place for most of the day makes our joints cramp up and decreases our mobility so it’s important to stretch regularly throughout the day. This ones important for everyone but it’s especially important to those of us who carry out rigorous exercise. Sitting rigid all day and then expecting our bodies to cope under extreme pressure at night in the gym is a recipe for disaster. You can find some easy stretches on you tube that you can do at your seat or even on your walk to the toilet – it might be a good idea to set a reminder to do these several times a day.
Walk to meetings
Have a meeting on the other side of town – walk! Have a meeting several floors up – take the stairs! It’s easy to be lazy and take a cab but walking 20 minutes to and from a meeting is an easy way to build up your steps and to get some extra exercise into your daily routine. Too many of us drive to work, drive to meetings and drive home again without taking any physical exercise. I park my car further away from work, walk 20minutes to work and walk 20minutes back to the gym after work – that’s 40minutes of extra exercise I get on top of my workout and that’s not to mention any meetings I walk to. It all adds up and if you walk briskly it’s the perfect way to warm up for your workout!
Plan your workouts
It can be difficult to fit workouts into a busy work week but with a bit of careful planning you can easily fit in at least 30minutes a day, be it cycling to work, taking a class at lunch or stopping by the gym on your drive home for several weighted supersets – it’s important to find the time to exercise – and if you’re anything like me, it gives you something to look forward to and help you destress after a hectic days work.
I’d like to know if you have any other tips for staying healthy at work or any interesting ways of sneaking exercise into your daily routine? Let me know below or tweet me.