Staying Healthy at the Workplace
By Laura Vandiver, VP of Research & Strategic Insight
Research shows that about six weeks into any given year is around the time when (you guessed it) most people fall off of their New Year’s resolution fitness goals. It’s hard to keep fitness goals going when the days are short and cold. But, there are lots of things you can do during your work day to help improve your overall health and wellness. And, they could make you a happier and more productive employee as well. Win-win! Here are a few of my favorite ideas anyone can do.
1. Get up and Move
I am guilty of sitting at my desk for long periods of time without moving, especially when I’m on an intense deadline for a client. This is common for office workers. The problem? Aching backs, sore legs, headaches and more. Set a goal to stand up and stretch at least once per hour. Walk to the break room and back, go say hi to your friend on the other side of the office, or walk up and down the stairs a few times. There are even apps you can download that remind you when it’s time to get up and move around.
2. Pack your Lunch
Many people hate the idea of packing their lunch. But packing your own healthy food and snacks will keep you on track during the day, and will keep you away from notoriously calorie-laden lunchtime buffets and restaurant meals. Most of the time, I just pack leftovers from dinner or a frozen meal if I’m pressed for time. Pro Tip: use containers no larger than two cups to control your portion sizes. And the excuse that you don’t have enough time? Once you get into a routine, packing your lunch will take 5 minutes or less. A little bit of planning goes a long way!
3. Take a Walk
If you are lucky enough to work in a walk-friendly area, this one is a breeze. Take 10-15 minutes at lunch to get outside and breathe some fresh air! If you’re stuck in an office building, then try walking the hallways and up and down the stairs. If you just can’t leave your desk, try doing quick sets of squats or push-ups to get the blood flowing. Your body will thank you!
4. Set a Workplace Activity Goal
Some people need a little healthy competition to get them engaged. So why not start a workplace activity goal? Choose a goal with your co-workers (maybe a certain number of steps per day), track your progress over time, and the winner gets a special treat – you decide what it is.
5. Stock Healthy Snacks in the Kitchen
Snacks in the Kitchen. Ah, the workplace kitchen: a place where healthy eating goals go to die. Often packed with junk food like chips, crackers and candy, it’s often too tempting for employees to stay on track with their calorie goals. But there is another way! Make a commitment to stock healthy snacks in the kitchen, where everyone contributes. Fresh fruits and veggies, make-your-own salad ingredients and even a little dark chocolate are great ideas.