We live in a society of fast food, microwave frozen dinners, happy hours and vending machine snacks; all of which can contribute to poor health. Most Americans work in an office 40 hours a week and then go home and watch television before they go to bed. Sedentary work in an office only adds to the unhealthy lifestyle. So how can we stay healthy and active at work while still excelling in our professional lives? From avoiding eye strain and tension neck syndrome to passing on those extra calories that co-workers leave invitingly on our desks, below are a few additional ways to stay healthy at the office.
1. Get up and walk. The more walking, the better. Park as far away from the office building as possible and walk into work. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk a couple of laps around the building during lunch. Try going for a quick run before or after work. Exercise not only improves physical health, it also helps mental well-being and can make individuals more productive at work.
2. Bring a homemade lunch to work. Going out to eat or eating microwaveable dinners is very unhealthy and can pack on extra pounds very quickly. Fast food and frozen meals are packed with preservatives and empty calories and can be expensive throughout the month. Instead bring leftovers from the night before to work. Home-cooked meals are generally more healthy and can save money.
3. Avoid the vending machine. Vending machines are filled with unhealthy snacks such as chips, cookies, candy and soda. Snacks are OK to eat throughout the day, but try to choose healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, yogurt and trail mix. Keep in mind that snacks add calories, so be sure to count them in the daily total.
4. Drink water. Limit juices, sodas and coffee drinks. Drinking eight glasses of water a day keeps the body hydrated without adding empty calories. Water helps all of the body’s organs function correctly, clears up skin, helps remove toxins and prevents dehydration. Sodas, fruit juices and fancy coffee drinks add empty calories and can dehydrate the body. These drinks are also expensive. Try to limit intake to maybe one soda or one fancy coffee drink per week.
5. Enjoy a nutritious breakfast. The adage, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” is true. It helps the body replenish energy stores and gives the mind a boost throughout the day. Oatmeal, whole-grain cereal, a slice of whole-wheat toast, fresh fruit and yogurt are all healthy choices. Counteract the daily coffeehouse fix by drinking orange juice, skim milk, water and/or plain brewed coffee.
Sovereign Health Group focuses on the whole person in its addiction, mental health and dual diagnosis treatment programs. Taking care of yourself at work is part of a healthy lifestyle. For more information, call 866-544-5504.
Written by Kristen Fuller, M.D., Sovereign Health Group writer