Modern office jobs do a number your health. Here’s how:
- Many jobs have become sedentary and require you to sit at your desk in front of a computer for long period of times.
- With email and instant message, there is little need to walk to your co-worker’s desk to ask a question.
- Lunch has been relegated to a bite at the cafeteria, scarfing down a snack at your desk or grabbing a quick-fix burger from the restaurant down the street.
6 Ways to make your office healthier
What can you do to create a healthier office environment? Our trainers and nutritionists have compiled their six best tips for how to move more and eat better throughout the workday.
1. Invest in a standing desk
A standing desk will get you out of your seat, reducing the negative side effects associated with sitting all day. There are many standing desk options on the market. Varidesk is relatively inexpensive and easy to set up. It’s a hybrid solution that can transform your seated desk into a standing desk in just a few seconds. Ask your employer for access to a standing desk, stating the case that it is essential for your health and productivity.
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. Other ways we love to add movement to our workday:
- Download a break reminder — but promise not to keep hitting snooze.
- Drink more water so that you are forced to get up from your desk.
- Every time you get up from your desk, take a minute to stretch your arms above your head. It will give you the energy boost you need to get through the afternoon.
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, nut butter and unsweetened dried fruit. If you have access to a fridge, consider fresh veggies, fruit or unsweetened yogurt. Allways opt for a snack that contains energy-sustaining protein and healthy carbs. Here are some ideas:
- Apple with almond butter
- Carrot sticks and hummus
- 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 with other healthy fats or protein.
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, 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.
If you don’t love plain water, try a not-so-boring flavored water recipe.
4. Promote healthy office gatherings and challenges
Here at 8fit headquarters, we have Friday healthy salads. It helps bring us away from our desk and together for conversation and a mindful meal.
If Friday salads aren’t possible at your office, try some healthy competition. Split the office into teams and create a contest that everyone can participate in. One idea is a collective activity everyone can do (such as walking) or meditation streak. 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 on where you work, you may find this easier to do on a short break or maybe save it for after the workday is done. Getting your coworkers 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. With weather permitting, shift your meetings outdoors or consider a walking meeting. 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
A study from the University of Exeter suggests that adding plants to your office design can impact the success of your company by increasing 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.
Healthy office design
Working an office job doesn’t have to wreak havoc on your health. With small changes to your daily activities, workstation, and office space, you can weave exercise and healthy eating into your workday.