Check out these seven tips for staying healthy at work!

7 Tips for Staying Healthy at Work

By Erin Coursey, iHire, LLC

With many recent studies suggesting that sitting at your desk for extended periods of time can have serious consequences, it’s not surprising that so many people are looking for office health tips. Unfortunately, many of the most common wellness tips for the workplace can seem a little out of reach for busy professionals who simply don’t have time to go to the gym every day. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of seven ways even the busiest employees can make some of the most common fitness truisms work, without damaging their productivity.

 

 

Tip #1: Move

One of the most important—and widely overlooked—health tips for working professionals is just to get up and move! Being mobile is key to staying healthy at work. Remember that every little bit counts, even if you’re simply taking the long route back to your desk from the bathroom.

Make it work:

  • Pick a few desk-ercises to focus on each day of the week. Try to pick a variety, so that you work all parts of your body.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Every time.
  • Choose a parking spot that puts some distance between your car and your building, so you get a little extra walk time in before and after work hours.
  • If your workplace is nearby, try cycling or walking to the office rather than driving.

 

 

Tip #2: Take breaks

Even though it may feel wrong to get up and leave a project partway complete, breaks will actually increase your productivity in addition to boosting your office health. Taking breaks minimizes eyestrain and computer-induced headaches, rejuvenates your mind so you can return to a problem with new energy and a fresh perspective, and prevents bodily strain from staying in one position for too long. It even decreases your stress levels, which benefits your immune system.

Make it work:

  • Set a timer on your phone or computer that will activate every hour or hour-and-a-half so you don’t forget or waste time watching the clock.
  • Use your break to relax and not think about the task at hand.
  • If you have time, some great workplace fitness options include walking a lap around the office or up and down a flight of stairs.
  • For a shorter break, you might do some calf raises or stretches for the neck, arm, and back at your desk.

 

 

Tip #3: Bring your food

As far as wellness tips for the workplace go, cutting the habit of going out to lunch may be the most difficult to comply with. Sticking to food from home means planning ahead, packing the food the night before (or in the morning, for early risers), and remembering to take the brown bag with you. Here are some ways to stick to home-prepped food without over-burdening yourself.

Make it work:

  • Plan for snack time. The vending machine is not a temptation you need to battle with while trying to stay healthy at work. Bring healthy options like fruit or crackers with you so that you aren’t left with chips or cookies when the munchies hit.
  • Pack your lunch the night before so you aren’t rushing in the morning. Some easy options include: sandwiches, leftovers from dinner, stir-fry, and salads.
  • Don’t take soda. If you need a caffeine boost in the afternoon, stick to taking tea bags with you or indulging in some of the break room coffee.

 

 

Tip #4: Keep clean

Keeping your area clean is especially essential for staying healthy at work during the cold and flu season! When several people are in an enclosed space for significant amounts of time, germs will spread quickly.

Make it work:

  • Avoid shaking hands when possible without seeming rude. Try high-fiving coworkers you know well, or having something in your hands when extending a greeting to people you know less well.
  • Wash your hands regularly, and consider keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer at your desk.
  • Disinfecting wipes are great for wiping down your keyboard and mouse at least once per day.

 

 

Tip #5: Pair up

Find a workplace fitness buddy or two who will keep you on track and make the whole experience more enjoyable. No one wants to be the only person doing lunges in the break room or opting to stand rather than sit during meetings, so a partner or two can make your new routine a little less awkward.

Make it work:

  • Ask a couple coworkers if they’d like to set some health goals with you.
  • Have each person establish a couple weekly objectives. Check in at the end of the week to see who succeeded.
  • For added motivation, pick a reward for anyone who meets their targets, such as choosing the group’s walking path one day next week.

 

 

Tip #6: Hydrate

You probably know that experts recommend drinking eight to ten glasses of water per day. What you may not have realized is that staying hydrated will not only improve your physiological health, but will also help to push you over that midday slump!

Make it work:

  • Keep a reusable bottle of water at your desk.
  • WebMD recommends that you consume one 16-ounce bottle of water before lunch, another between lunch and 3pm, and a final bottle before you leave the office. This regime will account for half of your ideal daily intake. If you drink one glass of water with breakfast and one with dinner, you’ll meet your goal.

 

 

Tip #7: Fix your workstation ergonomics

No list of office health tips is complete without a discussion of posture. Avoid unnecessary strain on your joints by restructuring your work area. According to Mayo Clinic, appropriate office ergonomics can save you from continued neck, back, wrist, and finger pain.

Make it work:

  • Move your chair up or down until your knees are level with your hips.
  • The top of your computer monitor should be at or slightly above eye level. You can make a makeshift computer stand by stacking a couple books.
  • Pad the edge of your desk for a wrist rest or buy an ergonomic mouse pad and keyboard.

 

The above list will help you jump-start your workplace wellness journey. Use these simple health tips for working professionals to keep yourself feeling good and functioning at your highest capacity. Good luck!


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