By Ashley Stahl, Originally Published in Forbes
Did you know, you will spend 90,000 hours of your life working, so what better place to make changes to a healthier, happier life?
June is National Men’s Health Month. This means 30 days dedicated to improving and acknowledging health and wellbeing. Whether you are a man, or a woman, one of the most important places to focus on improving health is at work.
I am right there with you in wanting to eat a treat while lying down typing on my laptop. But, let’s not be part of the 43% of workers who say they have gained weight from their current job.
Here are four things you can do to work towards a work-life where your wellness thrives!
1. Use technology to stay healthy.
An estimated 13 million wearable devices were integrated into corporate wellness plans over the past last five years. So chances are your company may already offer this incentive.
This might sound counterintuitive at first, but there are countless new apps and devices that help you track your wellness goals. An infamous fan of sweets myself, I know how hard it can be to track wellness. But this is the perfect way to know exactly what you are doing, and how it impacts your overall health.
Get a wearable device like a Fitbit or Apple watch to monitor your steps, and activity levels throughout the day. Team up with employee’s and work towards a common goal. The apps for these devices allow you to combine accounts and work together.
Not only are you being healthy, but you’re also encouraging office morale!
2. Be prepared to eat smart in the office.
Your morning team meeting comes with coffee and donuts, then you rush to a nearby food truck midday to grab a quick burrito, which is followed by an office mate’s birthday cake celebration, and topped off with a networking happy hour. It’s no wonder the term, you are what you eat, has left you feeling like a bag of sugar.
Curb the office treats and drinks by preparing food ahead of time. Studies confirmed that people who eat more homecooked meals are 28% less likely to have an overweight BMI. Take this seriously and meal prep the night before and pack your lunch each day. You will be more likely to prep healthy food and also save money along the way. The average lunch out costs $10, so that adds up to $50 per week you could be saving by prepping your lunch at home.
Did you know certain foods improve your presence, energy and work focus? Stock your desk with healthy snack items such as raw almonds, or dried fruit. A great book to reference for eating foods that are not only healthy for your body but also your mind is Genious Foods by Max Lugavere.
3. Watch what you drink, and how much.
You know drinking water is vital to overall health and wellness, so why aren’t more people doing it? Convenience and ease of access are two major contributors to the chronic dehydration many of us suffer from. Combat this by invest in a clear water bottle with a straw. When you drink from a straw, you actually consume more liquid and the act of inhaling with puckered lips is a calming and de-stressing motion.
Restrict your caffeine consumption, especially in the afternoon. It takes 10 hours for 75% of the caffeine in your system to be processed. So that late afternoon pick-me-up is going to heavily impact your sleep patterns and create a vicious cycle of caffeine dependency. Instead, have your coffee in the morning and then drink non-caffeinated coffee or decaf tea in the afternoon. Mayo clinic recommends capping caffeine intake to less than 400 milligrams per day, which equates to about four cups of coffee.
4. Take movement to a whole new level.
You have likely heard the saying that sitting is the new smoking… And most of the sitting is taking place while you are at work. According to Gavin Bradley, Director of Active Working, “When you sit for more than 30 minutes your metabolism begins to slow down 90% and if you sit for two hours straight your good cholesterol drops 20%. The enzymes that move the bad fat from your arteries to your muscles slow down.”
If you have a highly sedentary job, follow the 60/3 rule. For every 60 minutes that you spend sitting at your desk, get up and stand for at least three. Move around, fill up your water or chat with a coworker. Not only will you be activating your muscles, improving cholesterol levels but you will be giving your mind a well-needed break.
Invest in a standing desk, but ease into it. When you switch from sitting all day to standing you will be putting a new strain on your feet, back and legs. The best time to stand is after a meal such as, in the afternoon after lunch. Studies show that standing after a meal helps blood sugar levels return to normal faster than sitting.
When you have meetings, break the norm and mix things up with an active meeting. Consider taking your one on one meeting outside, and on a walk. Unless your meeting requires access to a computer or working at a table, enjoy the outdoors and move. If someone questions this motive, let them know that according to Stanford research, walking actually improves creativity.
Embrace your inner health guru and support National Men’s Health Month by dedicating yourself to implement these four tips for the month of June, and beyond!
For a FREE course to land a new job you love, launch your dream business, or find your purpose, visit https://ashleystahl.com/