May is National Employee Health and Fitness Month. Since many of us spend a good deal of time at work, here are a few ways you can incorporate healthier habits while you’re in the office. Try some of these on your own or encourage coworkers to join you!
Move around and stretch. You may have heard that “sitting is the new smoking” and according to many researchers you can reduce your risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease by spending more time moving throughout the day. It’s important to keep in mind that regular exercise doesn’t negate the effects of sitting too much. For every hour spent sitting try to spend 10 minutes moving. Get up from your desk and take a walk or try stretches that you can do in your office.
Schedule walking meetings. According to a survey by Harvard Business Review, people who participate in walking meetings report being more creative, focused, and engaged. These types of meetings are best for smaller groups when you’re trying to come up with potential solutions to a problem or are deliberating on a decision. If you want to try walking meetings in your office, be sure to schedule them in advance to make sure attendees bring proper shoes.
Cut back on caffeine. Instead of reaching for a second or third cup of coffee (or worse, a sugary beverage) in the afternoon, try something else to boost your energy. While coffee and soda can lead to crashes, eating a healthy snack that contains protein, carbs, and fat can give you a more prolonged boost of energy without leaving you feeling depleted later. Another option is to go for a short walk outside if you find yourself hitting that 2 pm slump.
Try deep breathing. Deep breathing is a good way to relax because it tells your brain to calm down. This message is then relayed to the rest of your body. You can also practice it anywhere. There are a lot of breathing exercises out there, but here is an easy one from the University of Michigan:
• Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
• Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
• Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
• Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.
• Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
• Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.
Eat sensibly. Try bringing your own lunch instead of going out to eat. Eating a balanced lunch will help you feel energized throughout the afternoon. Fast food options tend to be higher in simple carbs, which can leave you feeling tired a few hours after eating. Looking for quick and healthy lunch options? Here are some ideas.