Modern office jobs can be killer on your health.
Many jobs have become sedentary. With email and instant message, there is little need to walk to your co-worker’s desk. Lunch has been relegated to a bite at the cafeteria, or a quick-fix burger from the restaurant down the street.
What can you do to create a healthier office environment? Our trainers and nutritionists have compiled their 6 best tips for how to move more and eat better throughout the work day.
1. Invest in a standing desk
There are many options on the market. Varidesk is relatively inexpensive and easy to set up. It is a hybrid solution that can transform your seated desk into a standing desk in just a few seconds.
Alternatively, if you can’t get a standing desk, stand while taking all your calls. Add in a few squats and calf raises to increase the intensity and activate your muscles.
2. Keep healthy snacks at your desk
It’s easy to get tempted by the vending machine snacks when you are hungry. Save yourself from temptation by keeping your own healthy snacks at work.
Try nuts, fresh veggies or yogurt. An apple with almond butter is a filling and healthy snack. You may also try carrot sticks and hummus or celery and peanut butter. Coach Jennifer, 8fit nutritionist, recommends whole fruit such as apples and oranges in combination with nuts. Fruits contain simple sugar and should be eaten in combination with other healthy foods. The snacks you find listed in your 8fit Pro nutrition plan are a great place to start.
3. Keep a water bottle at your desk
Water is one of the building blocks of life. It helps to keep your kidneys and liver functioning properly. It also flushes out your system and helps get rid of the metabolic end products.
Proper hydration also helps with weight loss because often people mistake thirst for hunger. Next time you feel the urge to snack, ask yourself if you are thirsty and try sipping water before chowing down.
Pick a good-sized water bottle – 32 ounce or one liter sizes are popular. We recommend that you drink one full bottle before lunch and one full bottle before the end of the day. The water will help you snack less, keep you hydrated, and help you feel healthier overall.
4. Promote office challenges
Here at 8fit headquarters, we have a Friday lunch challenge. Each week, teams take turns bringing in healthy ingredients to see who can create the tastiest healthy salad. It brings the office together, helps us eat healthier once a week, and makes for a fun challenge.
Everyone likes a good challenge. Split the office into teams, and have a contest that everyone can participate in. One idea is to try a weight loss challenge. Another idea could be to collectively maintain a workout streak. If you get creative, you can find a lot of other fun challenges. The team who wins at the end of a set amount of time, receives an incentive, such as a healthy catered lunch.
5. Start a walk/run group during your breaks or after work
Depending where you work, you may find this easier to do on a short break or maybe save it for after the work day is done. Getting your co-workers together will promote wellness and healthy living to the entire office. Start by going on 10-minute walks around your office building. These are perfect for break time and will help energize you. When you want more, meet before or after work for longer, 20-30 minute walks. You can even train for a local walk/run event, such as many of the cancer walks for charity that happen in most major cities.
6. Add a potted plant to your desk
Can adding plants to your office design affect the success of your company?
A study from the University of Exeter [ref]The relative merits of lean, enriched, and empowered offices: an experimental examination of the impact of workspace management strategies on well-being and productivity.[/ref] shows that office plants increased well-being by 47%, creativity by 45%, and productivity by as much as 38%.
Along with productivity, plants also clean the air and help to dampen office noise. Make sure the plants you choose do well indoors and can survive low-light conditions. The Aloe plant, Peace Lily, and Spider plant are a few good options.
Towards a healthy office
Working an office job doesn’t have to wreak havoc on your health. With small changes to your daily activities, work station, and office space, you can weave exercise and healthy eating into your work day.