By: Matt Weik
Without you even realizing it, your job is slowly killing you. Stress piles up, and it increases your cortisol levels. You sit all day at your desk and bang away at your keyboard until your fingers nearly bleed. You sit there on the phone, making and taking calls for hours each day. Thinking about getting up from your chair? Think again. Ok ok. Hopefully, you get the point I’m trying to make. You are a slave to your job, and it seems like they have control over your every movement and bodily function. Well, it’s time to change all of that. You are no good to your employer (or yourself or your family) if you’re not healthy. In this article, I want to show you some simple things you can do to improve your health at work. It doesn’t take much effort at all, and in the long run, you can yield some fantastic results.
Stop circling the parking lot looking for that Rockstar parking up front. You know who you are. In fact, you should be implementing this strategy anywhere you go – the grocery store, the mall, a restaurant, EVERYWHERE. Stop parking at spots closest to the door and start parking towards the back and walking up to the door.
All those extra steps, while in actuality aren’t a lot, will add up over time and could potentially prevent you from gaining some excess weight. It’s a great way to get your heart rate up slightly to improve your health at work, even if it’s for a few minutes walking into the office. But it doesn’t stop there, this leads you directly into my second piece of advice.
Elevators and escalators are for the lazy. Use the stairs! Now I get it, you may work in an office building that has 10+ flights of stairs. You may not have the time to walk 15 flights of stairs just to get to your desk (if you wanted to, you could, though, if you planned to arrive early enough and used it as a form of cardio). So, if you don’t want to trek up 10 flights of stairs, get off the elevator a few floors early, and then walk the rest of the way up the stairs.
Obviously, if you are carrying a bunch of items and it would hinder your balance, don’t use the stairs that day, so you don’t risk injuring yourself. But make it a point to focus on hitting some flights of stairs each day, and as your fitness level improves, slowly start adding an extra flight of stairs to your daily routine. This is for both coming into work and when leaving work.
Nothing frustrated me more than when an associate would email me when they were sitting at the desk directly next to me. Get up from your desk and ask me the question. It’s insane that people are so lazy these days that they will do anything and will use every bit of technology possible to prevent them from getting up and walking somewhere. This isn’t healthy. You need to be up and moving throughout the day, and getting up to talk to an associate is a great way to get the blood flowing and stretch those muscles.
Taking a quick walk to an associate’s office to talk face to face can also accomplish things much quicker than sending an email or text and then waiting for a reply for them. Getting up and going to talk to an associate is a great strategy to improve your health at work, all while being more productive throughout the day as well.
You need to stay hydrated throughout the day, and in order to do that, you should have a water bottle on you at all times. Sip from the bottle throughout the day and when it’s empty, either get another bottle or fill the same one back up again. When you aren’t drinking enough water throughout the day, not only can it dehydrate you, but it can affect your performance from a mental and physical standpoint.
If you exercise during the day, you’re going to need even more water to replenish what was lost as sweat. Water is your friend. Not only does it help keep you healthy, but it is also calorie-free and can help you from drinking excessive empty calories throughout the day on things like soda, juice, energy drinks, and other sugary and unhealthy beverages.
Nothing zaps your energy more than sitting around a desk all day long as if you were zip-tied and can’t get up. Your mental and physical energy starts to drop, and before you know it, you’ve killed your productivity and are sitting there in a daze. Don’t let that happen to you. By simply getting up and stretching, you can increase blood flow and improve your performance.
Personally, I like to get up from my desk and walk around my office while I’m on the phone with clients and prospects. I pace around as well as stretch. Often, when we sit at our desks all day, poor posture can cause our muscles to tighten up, and knots can even begin to form. Continued poor posture day in and day out can also lead to injuries and could potentially take you out of commission from work. Depending on your insurance and coverage, this could mean you are out of pay for some time until you can regain your health and strength and are able to go back to work. Prevent this by getting up and stretching throughout the day.
Nothing kills your goals more than being unprepared. How often do you not take a lunch with you to work? What happens? You probably end up either eating lunch out (which ends up not being healthy), you raid the vending machines (again, nothing in there is healthy), or you simply skip lunch altogether, which doesn’t supply any fuel for your brain or body to work from and can put you in a brain fog for a good part of the afternoon. Solve this problem by packing your lunch to improve your health at work.
If you’ve followed my work for any length of time, you know I’m big on meal prepping. Meal prepping allows you to have a grab-and-go system in your refrigerator where each morning you have a meal ready to go that all you need to do is grab it, toss it in your bag, and out the door you go. It’s simple, easy, and effective in helping to improve your health at work and allow you to properly manage your weight.
It would also be a great idea to have some healthy snacks at the office too. This can be anything from a protein or nutrition bar, to a protein shake, or even a jar or bag of nuts or seeds. Grabbing a handful of nuts/seeds or having a bar/shake is enough to crush the hunger pangs you may face between lunch and dinner. If your stomach is growling or you find your energy level getting zapped and getting up and moving around isn’t helping, reach for your snack stash and have something little (don’t go overboard and consume the entire jar of nuts or eat multiple bars all at once or you’ll demolish your caloric intake for the day and risk gaining weight).
You could even dump some MPA Iso Poofs into a container and keep it in your desk to pick at when you need a protein-filled snack throughout the day. With up to 19g of protein per servings, they can easily fit into your nutrition plan and help you reach your daily protein requirements.
Depending on how much time you get for your lunch, you have different options to choose from. If you get an extended lunch hour (60+ minutes) and you have a gym nearby, you could quickly drive there, get in your workout, and drive back to the office. The only thing you’d need to be able to do is to eat your lunch at your desk during the day (check your employee handbook or ask your boss if you’re able to do this).
If your lunch is only 30 minutes, leave walking or running shoes at the office so during your lunch break, you can go walk outside or even around the office halls if the weather is bad. Remember those steps we spoke about in #2? Well, you could even go walk several flights of stairs over your lunch break to improve your health at work. Again, you would need to be able to eat at your desk before/after your lunch break so you can still make sure you aren’t missing meals.
There are many options available, you just need to find a way to fit exercise in with your lunch hour. Obviously, if you can eat at your desk throughout the day and use your lunch out to your advantage and get in a quick workout, you’ll have it made, and it will be time well spent versus sitting around the office eating lunch or heading to the cafeteria only to get everyone around you talking to you about work-related topics and projects while all you want to do is sit there, eat your lunch, and not have to think about work for a little. All of a sudden, those steps don’t seem so bad, right?