08 September 2016
We know the workplace can be stressful and it is often hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle while on the job but in order for you to do your job correctly and feel yourself it is really important you take your health very seriously. Since there are so many different types of work environments out there, people need flexible strategies for getting healthy and staying that way. If you find yourself at the vending machine more than at the salad bar in the cafeteria, or if you're feeling sluggish at your desk all day, this article will offer a few tips to help you get back on track. Feeling better will help you work better!
Exercise to get to work
Getting a workout in before you start work can energise you for the day ahead. It has the added benefit of cutting down on your transportation costs. If you live relatively close to where you work, consider these strategies to get in a bit of exercise before your workday even properly begins:
- Commute to work on a bike. Wear proper safety gear such as a helmet and pads, or a reflective vest so that drivers can see you clearly.
- Select one or two days a week to jog to work. Jogging on a commute may require you to keep a change of clothes at your workplace. A facility with a locker room or changing area may also be necessary.
- If distance and time allow for it, choose a nice day to walk to and from work. Take in the fresh air and use this time to clear your thoughts and relax before heading into the office. You might even walk to public transportation stops. Public transportation might be a commute option for you. If so, choose a route that will allow you to walk part of the way.
Bring a change of workout clothes and go directly to the gym after work
If you go home first, you might be tempted to stay at home and skip your workout altogether. Starting your workout routine at the end of your workday might give you more motivation to exercise and for a more consistent routine.
Energise your daily tasks by making them more active
If you have a sedentary job (lots of sitting around), moving around more during the course of the day is a good way to increase your activity level.
- Take the stairs in your building (if you work in a large building it may not be practical to climb the stairs to your office on the 34th floor).
- Lift more weight than you're used to. If the office needs more photocopy paper, make an exercise of it - take a few trips to carry each box instead of using a cart.
- Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of calling them on the phone. You'll increase the number of steps you take each day and appear more personable.
- If you must eat lunch away from work, walk there. Getting a carry out order and bringing it back to eat at work will increase your appetite.
Schedule break time wisely
Break time is a worker's right that shouldn't be taken for granted. Use that time effectively and you'll be healthier for it!
- How you put break time to use depends on the type of job you do. If you need rest, take a breather. If you've been sitting all day, get up and move around!
- Know the break time policies at your place of work. Ask a supervisor if you're not sure. Follow them and don't abuse them.
- Take a walk whenever you get a break. Create different routes in the corridors of your building or outside if the weather is nice.
- If your break time is limited there are exercises that you can do at your desk. Stretch out your limbs. Shake off the fatigue. Get your blood flowing!
Relax, don't tense up
If your job involves intense physical or mental activity, take time to unwind. Stepping away for a few moments can help calm and re-focus your mind on the task at hand.
- Periods of high stress are when we often fall back on bad habits. Resist the urge to cope with caffeine, a cigarette, or sweets. All three will only serve to keep you wound up.
- If you feel overwhelmed by your work load, wash your face with cold water, stretch your body and take several deep breaths. The additional influx of oxygen to your body will help increase your focus and productivity at work.
- The workday can be hectic for many people. If that's you, take a break and relax there are many options available: meditation, prayer, or reading. Choose something you enjoy!
- If you need to blow off some steam, vent a little by talking to a trusted friend or colleague.
Learn to count calories
Calorie counting is not a diet, but a way to keep track of the amount of energy that comes from food and the amount of energy used by your body.
- There are several ways to count calories. Many fitness websites and apps have built-in calculators to help you.
- If daily calories from food total more than the daily number of calories you burn, you may be gaining weight.
- If daily calories from food total less than the daily number of calories you burn, you will probably lose weight.
Enjoy a nutritious breakfast
We've all heard that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day." But there's really truth to this saying! Studies have shown a relationship between eating a responsible breakfast and lower body weight, or less weight gain over time.
- Oatmeal, cereal, a slice of whole-wheat toast, fresh fruit, and yogurt are all healthy choices.
- A good breakfast may be more helpful than hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock. Make time in the morning to fit breakfast into your pre-work routine.
- If you are pressed for time in the morning, try fixing breakfast ahead of time. Hot or cold cereal can be prepared in batches and dished out into individual containers for you to eat on the run. Fresh fruit is also easy to eat on the go.
- Sometimes it's more convenient to grab food on your commute. In that case, choose healthier options: a muffin, "to go" servings of oatmeal, or a yogurt.
Regulate your caffeine intake
Sure, it puts some extra pep in your step. But like any drug, it is possible to overdose on caffeine, causing irritability, restlessness, and sleepless nights. None of those symptoms helps you be your best at work!
- Cap your caffeine consumption at 400 milligrams per day. That's the equivalent of 4 cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola, or 2 energy shot drinks.
- Establish a caffeine schedule to distribute your consumption more evenly. For example, have an espresso in the morning, a cup of brewed coffee before lunch, and another in the afternoon. To help you sleep, set a time of day (like 4:00 pm) after which you won't drink caffeine.
- Tea can be a lower caffeine alternative to coffee, depending on the type of tea and the serving size.
- Counteract your daily coffee house fix with alternatives: orange juice, skim milk, water, and/or plain brewed coffee.
- Many caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and cola have low-caffeine or no-caffeine versions.
Bring a healthy lunch to work
Taking the time to prepare healthy meals at home is often the best way to ensure a nutritious lunch. By carefully selecting ingredients at the grocery store, you can better count calories and avoid foods that you're intolerant or allergic to.
- A healthy lunch made at home might consist of brown rice (with vegetables) and grilled or baked chicken. (Brown rice offers extra dietary fibre and chicken is lean meat with lots of protein.)
- Home cooked leftovers can also be a healthier alternative to eating out, depending on the dish.
- Brown bag it: pack a sack lunch with a sandwich, cut vegetables like celery sticks, and a healthy treat like fruit flavoured yogurt or fresh fruit.
- If you're pressed for time before work, bring a can of soup that can be heated up in a microwave safe container. Avoid varieties of soup that are high in sodium.
If you found this useful, why not check out our tips on Eating Healthy on the go for some tasty recipes that wont take up too much of your time! And, if your considering a new role, why not take a look through our latest job vacancies or contact us to discuss your options in confidence.