Full-time employees in the U.S. work an average of 47 hours per week, which means that a large portion of your life is spent at the office or commuting to and from. This might be good for your pocketbook, but unfortunately, it could be terrible for your health. Not only is stress one of the number one causes of doctor visits but a whopping 80 percent of adults fail to get the minimum recommended amount of weekly exercise.
When you put these two things together, it’s no wonder that heart disease is so common. Working in an office naturally contributes to living an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle. The good news is that there are ways to combat this problem and make the office healthier for everyone.
1. Use Breaks Wisely
Do you remain seated throughout your breaks? This makes an already unhealthy desk job even more detrimental to your health. Instead, spend at least five minutes of each break walking. Alternatively, you can do exercises in your office. It doesn’t take much space to do something simple like pushups or sit-ups.
To further improve the health benefits of your day, you can begin incorporating desk exercises into your work time. This may seem difficult at first, but the truth is that basic stretching exercises that can be done even while sitting down are simple and will make you feel better.
2. Commit to Healthy Snacks
Sugar is the biggest cause of weight gain, so it’s time to get rid of the doughnuts and other sweet treats. Replace them with naturally sweetened food, such as brain-boosting blueberries or apples, which are beneficial to many parts of your body. Need a crunch to get through the day?
There are many companies that deliver unhealthy snack boxes to offices around the country, but innovators such as Snack Nation have begun making it easier to get better quality snack food deliveries. Trade in the junk for variety boxes that contain items, such as vegetable chips and pumpkin seeds.
3. Transform Your Meetings with Walking
Want to get the best possible input from your employees or coworkers while also making them healthier? Walking is one of the top ways to improve your cardiovascular health, and you don’t have to keep a brisk pace in order to receive benefits.
Additionally, studies have determined that people are 60 percent more creative and able to communicate more effectively when they are walking. It’s truly a win-win for everyone to walk while discussing meeting topics, regardless of whether you go outside or simply walk through the building. Just make sure everyone can hear the person who is speaking.
4. Take a Meditation Break
Some companies have begun having a shared meditation session during the day, but even if yours isn’t interested in taking this step, you can put aside a few minutes to de-stress and center yourself. A solid meditation session only requires 10 to 15 minutes.
If this is too much time, even five minutes can be very helpful for calming your mind and reducing stress. If you’re a beginner, there are numerous apps you can use to help you learn how to mediate, such as the Calm app.
5. Build an Office Gym
If there’s not already an office gym in place, consider asking the owner if it’s possible to include one. There are many ways to sell this idea to the owner or supervisor as a major perk for them too. For example, people who exercise regularly typically need almost $1,100 less in healthcare expenses each year.
A nice treadmill will be in the same general price range, so even simply putting a couple of them in an empty room would more than pay for itself during the first year. When you put it in terms like this, it doesn’t make sense for any office that has some extra space to not have a gym.
6. Keep Your Space Tidy
Simply looking at a messy desk causes an increase in stress levels for most people. Reducing your stress is a vital part of building a healthier environment, which means you need to commit to cleaning your desk and office space at least once a week.
Doing this will also reduce your risk of losing something important. Studies have indicated that people judge their coworkers based on how messy their desk is, so you could actually risk losing out on a promotion if you don’t take steps to alleviate the clutter.
7. Make Sure the Air is Clean
How long has it been since the air filter was changed in your office’s HVAC unit? If you have no idea and your coworkers are frequently sniffling, it’s definitely time to look into making your indoor air healthier to breathe. Occupational allergies are very common, and they do much more than make people miserable.
In fact, research has found that reducing indoor air pollution and increasing ventilation helps workers perform at a higher level. If you combine this with walking meetings, everyone’s work-related creativity could jump off the charts!
8. Stop Eating at Your Desk
Do you tend to work through lunch? Unfortunately, this will make you much more likely to gain weight. By taking time to go to the break room to eat, you’ll be able to enjoy and digest your food better. You’ll also be more inclined to make a conscious effort to choose food that will actually leave you feeling full and satisfied. Another major reason to eat away from your desk at lunchtime is to avoid the accumulation of stress that builds up when you don’t occasionally step away for a break. Remember: stress is a major health issue, so make sure to take care of yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Improving your health doesn’t have to be as difficult as most people believe. If you’re still uncertain how to fit things like exercise into your schedule, be sure to look at how to make each day ultra-effective. Making a few simple lifestyle changes, such as exercising for 30 minutes a day and swapping out junk food for healthy snacks, can reduce your expenses, improve your quality of life, and extend your lifespan.
Featured photo credit: Alan Clark via flic.kr
|||^||CNN Money: Turns out Americans work really hard…but some want to work harder|
|||^||CBS News: CDC: 80 percent of American adults don’t get recommended exercise|
|||^||Inc: 7 Powerful Reasons to Take Your Next Meeting For a Walk|
|||^||University of Michigan News: Workers who exercise lower health risks, cost less|
|||^||Female First: The stress of a messy desk|
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