9 Healthy Work Habits You Can’t Live Without
If you want to live a healthy life, your good habits need to follow you to work as well. Whether that’s in the office, on the road or on the job site, these are habits you can’t live without. Despite the office snacks and the after-work happy hours, you likely spend a good chunk of time at work, and the choices you make throughout your workday can affect all areas of your life. From food to movement and mental health to at-home prep, here are the best tips and local resources for maintaining healthy habits at work.
Try a walking meeting to combat afternoon fatigue
Sitting all day is not only unhealthy for you, but it can cause pain in your back, shoulders, hips and neck. To alleviate this issue, encourage your colleagues to lace up their shoes and join you in a walking meeting. Studies have shown that you’re more creative when you’re walking, so if you’re brainstorming a new initiative or trying to solve a problem at work, take a walk.
Now, we understand that not all workplaces are conducive for strolls, so why not get out of the office and head over to the FirstOntario Centre Walk / Run Track? This is a great way to stay out of the cold but still keep that heart pumping and the creative juices flowing! We invite you to join us each week while we’re leading Momentum Mondays from 12:30 – 1:30pm at the FirstOntario Centr Walk / Run Track. We’ll have opportunities for ‘walk and learns’, fitness Q&A’s, prizes and more.
We know that people who fill their morning routines, lunch breaks or happy hours with physical activity tend to be more engaged and energetic on the job than those who stay glued to their chairs. Getting a move on throughout the workday improves overall cardiovascular health, provides a healthy distraction from stressful office situations, and can even enhance workers’ capacity to handle physiological stress.
Sit up straight
The not-so surprising reality is that many of us spend more time with our work computer than with anybody else. This means that you should make sure that you sit the right way during these long hours of friendship. What you need to pay attention to is the position of your neck, elbows, back and knees – they should be straight or at right angles. If you’re finding these areas to cause you pain, there’s probably something wrong with the way you’re sitting. Try adjusting the height of your chair, or add an ergonomic back support.
Take a stand against office norms
Even if you’re just tackling some emails or short to-do lists, spend at least 30 minutes a day standing at your desk. We bet you it’ll boost your energy and be the exact remedy you need to stay focused and on task. Sitting at a desk all day is a thing if the past, but if your office doesn’t have a place where you can work standing up, consider requesting a standing desk. Alternatively, you can simply just make sure that you’re physically standing up and stretching at least once every hour.
While you may be an Excel champ by day and fitness junkie by night, recent research suggests that the recommended 30 minutes of cardio five times per week may not undo the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle. Yikes! This means that it’s up to you to add those healthy habits into your workday.
First things first: Take. The. Stairs. Avoid the elevator small talk in order to elevate that heart rate! Once you’re feeling comfortable, challenge yourself by stepping two at a time, every other flight, in order to feel the burn.
The Patient Printer
Why lackadaisically stand by the printing pages when you could be sculpting your calves with calf raises? Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, stand on your tippy toes, pause at the top, then lower back down. Repeat 12 times, pause for 20 seconds, then repeat again. Or just go until the printing, faxing, or scanning is done. Ready to level up? Try raising only one leg at a time.
The Seated Leg Raiser
Believe it or not, some deskercises can be kept under wraps. While seated, straighten one leg in the air and hold it for 5-10 seconds. Then switch legs, and repeat for 15 reps. If you’re not feeling the burn, loop a purse or briefcase over your ankle for extra weight.
For more movements that you can do in the office, check out these body weight exercise videos.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, which means that you should unplug, unwind, and de-stress every single day. That means phones, laptops, tablets, smart watches OFF. Unplugging is an important part of your stress recovery, and although we may resist it, we really do need down time after work to mentally recharge for the next day. Not to mention, studies have proven that multitasking doesn’t actually work. Toggling back and forth between emails, spreadsheets, cooking and being with the kids isn’t really an effective way to manage your time. So, unplug in the evening and take the time to do some breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, or even a yoga to truly unplug from the day.
Avoid the office snack tray
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Free office cake makes me crash like a Google Chrome window with too many tabs open”? Yeah, we get that. The alternative? Keep a healthy snack at your desk at all times. Bring a piece of fruit or some cut up veggies from home, or leave dried fruit and nuts in your desk. No matter what you choose, just make sure it’s healthy, and aim for something that isn’t pre-packaged. By planning ahead, you’ll nip those temptations in the bud and find it easier to avoid the sweet, sugary snacks.
H2O is your new bffl
It’s no news to you that water is extremely important to keep our bodies healthy. But did you know that even just mild dehydration can cause fatigue, moodiness and problems focusing? And that coffee actually dehydrates you? All of that sounds like a recipe for disaster at work! Ideally, you should aim to drink about 8 – 10 glasses of water every day (AKA about 2L of water). Start off by sipping on water every 15 – 30 minutes – you can set a timer if you need to. Eventually, you’ll create a habit that you’ll be able to build off of and before you know it, you’ll be drinking 2L of water daily!
Let’s be honest, it’s really hard to make good, healthy choices when you’re hungry or when you’re eating out. So, by packing your lunch and bringing it to work with you, you’ll have better control and actually eat food you like to keep you on track. The most important thing is to make sure that some part of your lunch feels like a treat. Whether you pack your favourite drink, make a new recipe, buy a cute lunch bag or find a new spot to eat, it should always feel like you’re treating yourself.
Talk to management
The easiest way to succeed in wellness at work is to create an office culture of health. Many of our members have formed a committee, set office-wide rules, or asked HR specifically for what they want: healthier snack options, nutrition education, office-wide challenges, or wellness programming. If your work-world is in line with your goals, you won’t be constantly fighting a battle. Not to mention, many workplaces are adding wellness into their mandates – because a healthier team is a happier, more productive team, which is a win-win for everyone!
Good habits are not always so easy to create, as it takes months to introduce a new one, but they do pay off. If you have any questions about creating healthy habits during your own workday or across the office, we invite you to connect with firstname.lastname@example.org who would be happy to answer any and all of your questions!