A computer, a chair, and your body sitting for eight hours. Eye strain. Neck tension. Wrist strain. By now you have heard that sitting is the new smoking. And new research has revealed for every eight-hour work day of sitting one must exercise for one hour to repair the harm. But what can you do to improve your health at work? Here are seven easy-to-implement recommendations.
Stand and move around once an hour every day. Walk to get a drink. Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of calling or e-mailing. For any shorter check-in meetings, make them standing only. This keeps the meetings efficient and the muscles active. Create a desk task or two where you stand while doing the task. For instance, each time a co-worker calls on the phone, stand while you chat to them.
Avoid the Complimentary Snacks
Depending on where you work, you may be deluged with donuts, bagels, and chocolate from co-workers who have decided to “treat” the office. It is a very generous act, but it can affect your health at work. Each time you indulge in these snacks, you can easily add a few hundred calories to your daily diet. It always helps if you have healthy snacks at your desk to offset the temptation. And that company potluck? Have you ever seen more cheese and greasy appetizers? Be the one who brings the vegetable tray and hovers around it until the desire for casseroles has passed.
Personalize Your Workspace
One study found that people who adorn their spaces with personal items are not as likely to self-report emotional exhaustion. The study’s coauthor Gregory A. Laurence PhD. says “This kind of personalization allows workers to regain a sense of privacy and control of their environment. You’re saying to coworkers, This is what I want you to know about me, and that autonomy, no matter how small, appears to reduce burnout.”
Jot Down the Good
A study in the Academy of Management Journal discovered that women who, at the end of their workday, jotted down three positive events and the reasons they believe they occurred reported reduced headaches, muscle tension, backaches, and stress. It provides you something to look forward to and prepares you for tomorrow.
Don’t Park as Close as Humanly Possible
Every little bit helps. So if you are one of those people who circle around parking lots for the closest spot, use your workplace parking spot to break this cycle. If you also throw in the use of stairs at work, you would accumulate many steps after a week, a month, a year.
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands may be the number one way you can avoid getting sick and improving your immediate health at work. And at the office, the number of times you wash your hands is entirely within your control.
Reinstate the High Five
High fives release oxytocin (some know it as the “snuggle hormone, but high-fivers prefer the “trust hormone”). They also reduce cortisol a primary stress hormone. High-fives are simply fun, positive, and goofy! They can make you laugh as well as invite movement. And remember any movement is good movement.
Incorporate Actions to Improve Your Health at Work
If we worked an hour a day, it may be justified to ignore our health at work. But we spend so much of our lives at work that incorporating healthy activities should be part of your work pursuits. Just implement a few of these extremely easy adjustments and your mental and physical health will thank you.
Image Credit: Shutterstock