Tips for a healthier day at the office

When we typically think about workplace hazards, the first jobs that probably come to mind are jobs like construction, where workers are at very obvious risk of bodily injury most days. However, just because you work in an office doesn’t mean there aren’t a few things you can do to decrease your risk of having your job negatively affect your health!

For starters, sitting all day can really take a toll on your back. Not to mention, on average,Americans spend one-third of their lives at work, so it can be hard to make it to the gym every day or have time to shop for and cook healthy meals. But practical and simple steps can put you on the path to a healthier lifestyle, and your workplace is an excellent place to start. Here are five ways to improve your well-being while you’re at the office.

1. Take Stretching Breaks

Many jobs include lots
of sitting — in fact, the average American worker sits in front of a computer
for 1,700 hours per year. Taking breaks to stand
up and stretch can improve overall health and warm up stiff muscles. Stretching
can increase your spine health and improve your productivity.

Walking around to warmyour legs up can be as simple as visiting a friend on the other side of theoffice or refilling your coffee cup. Set up intervals for yourself to stretchand move. Better yet, participate in extended periods of stretching like yogato help reduce stress and anxiety.

2. Hydrate Throughout the Day

Water boosts health in
many ways, from organ function to concentration. Even mild dehydration
can put you in a bad mood and lower your
cognitive capability, so keeping your water intake up through the workday is

Each of your body’ssystems needs a certain amount of fluid, and when yourehydrate, they maintain these levels. Store a water bottle at your desk,and refill it periodically. If you get tired throughout the day, grab yourwater rather than sipping another cup of coffee — coffee is actually a diureticthat can contribute to dehydration.

3. Pack Smart Snacks

Most offices stock
snacks that are high in salt and sugar, but if you bring your snacks from home,
you can choose healthier options. Usually, the most accessible snacks at the
office are stored in vending machines or candy bowls set out on desks.

Grazing, or eatingmany small meals with fewer calories throughout the day, can reduce hunger and promote weight loss. Whenyou prepare your own food for the day, you’ll have a better chance of avoidingpoor food choices. Pack healthy snacks for work like fruit,vegetables, granola or nuts.

4. Wipe Down Your Desk and Electronics

Computers, phones and
desk accessories accumulate germs over the year, and they aren’t cleaned as
often as they should be. In fact, your keyboard contains more germs than a toilet. Disinfect your desk
and electronics once a day to reduce your chances of getting sick or spreading
germs to others.

If you play any partin maintaining a clean office, like tidying up the break room, make suresurfaces are thoroughly germ-free. Approximately half of the commonly touched surfaces atyour workplace will become infected with a sick coworker’s virus by lunchtime,according to a research study at the University of Arizona.

5. Prevent Strain from Computer Use

Sitting at a desk in
front of a computer can produce eye strain, hand pain and spine or neck issues.
To help reduce eye strain, adjust the brightness level of your monitor and keep
an arms-length distance from the screen. Remind yourself to blink while you’re
using your computer. Looking at screens can reduce your tear production, so consider using
eye drops to make up for the loss of moisture.

While carpal tunnel is rarely caused by typing, hand, wrist and finger pain can result from computer use. Writer’s cramps from repeated typing motions can create painful symptoms, so give your hands a break. Back and spine issues also arise from leaning forward toward a computer screen, so maintain proper posture at all times.

Incorporate Healthy Habits Throughout Your Workday

Use these simple tips
to have a healthier lifestyle a work. When you intentionally strive to better
yourself in the workplace, you can see progress and reap the rewards. Plan
to make wise choices about what you eat, how you sit and when you move, and
expect some great results after some time.

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Lauren Wiseman