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8 Ways to Make the Office a Healthy Work Environment

8 Ways to Make the Office a Healthy Work Environment

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.[1] 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.[2]

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.

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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.[3] 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.

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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.[4]

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.

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6. Keep Your Space Tidy

Simply looking at a messy desk causes an increase in stress levels for most people.[5] 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.[6] If you combine this with walking meetings, everyone’s work-related creativity could jump off the charts!

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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

Reference

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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