Today in America our jobs involve little physical exertion—we sit at a desk to analyze graphs, write reports, and schedule meetings. And what starts to develop after only a few years is another chin, a tire around our waste, and an extra 30 pounds that we get to show off daily. What can we do to help us fight to keep fit while still sitting sedentary most of the day? We’ve set out to help answer that question with these three work related health tips to keep the weight off during the workday.
1) Eat small snacks throughout the day, and when you do snack healthy
In addition to eating three large meals per day, you should be eating several snacks between those three core meals. Small snacks will prevent you from pigging out at lunch and dinner (thereby reducing your portion size during those meals), and over time, your metabolism will speed up, meaning you will be more effective at processing the food you eat. Before you leave the house in the morning, pack some snacks high in protein and fiber—they tend to be the most filling. Oatmeal, apples, whole-grain bread, and hard boiled eggs are some of our favorite. Don’t feel like waking up early to fill up some zip-lock bags with healthy food? Sandy Thorton of VendEdge, an Atlanta based vending operator, says not to worry. “Wellness in the workplace is of growing interest to human resource directors and management. The vending industry has addressed this in a variety of ways by offering new and better tasting healthy products and portion size options,” she says. “Some companies are even putting micro-markets in their buildings, which gives employees an opportunity to choose from even more healthy items.” So next time you get those 2 PM hunger cramps, reach for the healthier food option available at your workplace, not the Cheetos.
2) Get up and get your blood circulating
Every few hours you should be getting up from your desk and taking a walk around the office. Make an effort to push back from the desk—it is OK to take your eyes off your computer screen—and take a stroll through the office. Bring a refillable water bottle to work, and when it is empty, get up and refill it. Use the time to catch up with co-workers on a project rather than sending them another email. You can even use your stroll to build a relationship with your coworkers. Inquire about what they did last weekend, how their family is doing, and where they plan to go on vacation. Studies have shown that by taking “walk breaks” every few hours, you’re productivity will skyrocket. And you’ll be less likely to dread waking up each morning to report to the office.
3) Keep your posture in line
Back pain is something that affects over 31 million Americans. Much of that back pain can be attributed to horrible posture—something that is only made worse when you spend the full workday sitting at a desk. Most computer screen monitors are too short to be viewed at the proper angle. When we have to look down for so long, eventually we start to develop neck pain. And when we sit for so long, we start to slouch, causing lower back pain. Get to an office supply store and buy a stand that keeps your computer at eye level. Good posture is body language that people attribute to confidence and competence. Don’t let your office posture result in pain and affect how your co-workers think of you.
Only a few generations ago, Americans were active during their workdays. We were building cars, machines, and the foundation of America. Today, we are still building a foundation, but we are doing so from our desks. Better yourself and your work by simply adding these three tips to your daily routine. Your waistline can thank us later.
William L. Mehserle Jr. is co-founder and lead strategist at Khraze.com, a new media marketing company that creates custom marketing strategies for clients. He is also co-founder of theExpressionary.com, a personalized gift company. You can connect with him on Twitter at @WilliamMehserle or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/mehserle.
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