Sedentary work, being constantly in front of a computer for consecutive hours, or nibbling -most likely on unhealthy foods-, seems to have several effects on our health. More specifically, I hear a lot of people complaining about back and foot pains and gaining weight due to sedentary lifestyle. So, how can we reduce all these effects on our health and be even more productive at work?
The “secret tips” I follow myself and I believe that are necessary for our health, no matter where we are, are very simple and they are the following…
1. Start walking.
Even for those of you who manage to exercise systematically and daily, it is pretty difficult to replace 8 hours of sedentary work with half or one hour of exercise that you may do within your day. It certainly matters a lot to exercise for at least an hour a day, but when you are at your workplace, make sure to get up and walk for 5 minutes every single hour. It may seem like a stretch but a relevant study where the effects of sedentary life on health were examined, showed that when someone remains seated for more than 3 hours in a row, it negatively affects blood circulation and that results in an increase of cardiovascular diseases. For that reason, if you want to improve your blood circulation, make sure to move a lot! You can even do some specific exercises either standing or with your chair – actually your trainer or another health professional will advise you better on this!
2. Stay hydrated throughout the day.
Stress and anxiety are part of our everyday lives; especially when we do not drink enough water and do not make sure to hydrate properly throughout the day. Dehydration will most likely give us a headache, an increased heart rate, and it will not help us stay clear-headed. The result? It slows down our performance at work, as opposed to proper hydration which helps us stay as efficient as possible. So, make sure that you always have a bottle of water next to you and even when it is empty, refill it as soon as possible, of course before you feel thirsty. As we have mentioned again, we are already dehydrated the moment we are thirsty.
3. Do not forget your snack!
And now, let’s get to the snacks! Surely, temptations in the workplace are plenty. Especially when there are a lot of people in the office or when you have a co-worker with a sweet tooth next to you, then the temptations become more and more. I have already talked to you about the healthy snacks that you should make part of your diet, here. Simply make sure to consume your healthy snacks before you feel hungry -because that’s when you will most likely give in to temptations- and of course, even when you want to eat a treat, do it after you have consumed your healthy snack. In that way, you will be able to control the quantity you eat, but also to see if you really feel the need to consume something which is considered not that healthy. Moreover, it is very important to remember that your meals should be complete; they have to contain complex carbs, protein, and “good” fats.
4. Create a workplace wellness challenge or an activity for everyone.
The choices are numerous… You can start a group activity altogether. Find a trainer who will come to your workplace once a week for a training session. You can create a #challenge or a contest, like who will bring the healthiest breakfast, snack or lunch at work and offer him a prize. You can even count who walks the most steps in the office, using an online application.
In fact, my personal favorite is a cooking seminar. Cooking classes or seminars are group activities, which are not only team-bonding but they are also perfect stress relievers! I believe that this, along with the above, should be put on the list with the activities that are worth trying at your workplace this year!
Of course, I am waiting -as always- for your feedback and impressions!!! You see? Even when you are working, you can still take care of your health and have a good time, physically and mentally!
This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.
*The above information is based on published research findings.