Workplace Wellness: 5 Ways to Stay Healthy at the Office
Most Americans have sedentary day jobs. In 2011, The New York Times reported that jobs requiring at least a moderate amount of activity made up 20 percent of openings, whereas 50 years ago, they constituted 50 percent of the market. The comfort of sitting while earning a living is nothing to complain about, but researchers have found that desk jobs come with various health risks. To combat potential health problems, keep the following five tips in mind.
1. Take a walk
Sitting for long periods of time can be harmful for your body, but a new study from Indiana University has found that the damaging effects of sitting at your desk are reversible. The study, titled “Effect of Prolonged Sitting and Breaks in Sitting Time on Endothelial Function,” has found that the key to reversing the damage is taking walks. And lest you assume the walks have to be a full-fledged workout, think again — three easy 5-minute walks are all it takes in every three-hour window.
2. Get fresh air
As previously mentioned, walking for five minutes every hour can help reverse the damage effects of a sedentary desk job. But you can kill two birds with one stone by going outside for that walk. Getting fresh air while walking outside is proven to get rid of stress and improve your mental health. Recently, researchers at Michigan University, as reported by the Daily Mail, found that walking outdoors “improve someone’s daily positive emotions” while fighting depression without pharmaceutical drugs.
3. Don’t snack
The idea of keeping snacks at your desk may sound appealing — What’s not to like about having food to munch on at an arm’s length? — but this will only lead to mindless eating. Not to mention, a recent study from Leiden University and Raboud University Nijmegen found that snacking at work makes you eat more.
4. Stay hydrated
Instead of snacking, try transitioning mindless eating to mindless drinking. Keep water bottles near you so that you can stay hydrated at work. Not only is it important to make sure you drink enough water for good health, but researchers from the University of East London have found, as published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, that those who drink water and stay hydrated conduct mental tasks faster than those who do not.
5. Keep everything clean
Germs can often make their way into your workspace in unsuspecting places. Be sure to regularly clean your workspace and not to forget little nooks and corners like the insides of your keyboard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends “cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu can help slow the spread of influenza” and staying home if you’re contagious.