Today we are talking about a few strategies focused on how to stay healthy and productive, particularly for those of you who sit at a desk all day. For those of you who have won the lottery (aka retired), you will undoubtedly gain some knowledge from this post as well. So lets dive into how your daily activities, nutrition, and exercise routine can enable you to live life to the fullest!
Sitting for long periods of time is almost inevitable for most people these days. And with prolonged sitting being touted as the new smoking (without the bad breath), it’s important to find ways to unplant yourself from your chair. Sitting has been shown to increase the likelihood of high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, back pain, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, herniated lumbar disks, colon, breast and endometrial cancers and more. If you find yourself saying, “I exercise regularly so this doesn’t apply to me” you’re wrong! Research shows us that even with exercise, those who sit for long periods of time are still at risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular events. So here are some ways to elevate your health, decrease the likelihood of back pain, and boost your productivity at work!
- Use standing desks, or better yet, treadmill desks
- Walk across the building to talk to a colleague rather than sending an email
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Walk outside the building a few times each day
- Hold meetings while walking
- Create a competition in your office to become more active and lead a healthier lifestyle
I’m a big fan of keeping it super simple (KISS). When it comes to being busy at work all the time, the best way to stay healthy and/or lose weight is to plan. This is due to the fact that counting calories, points or macro-nutrients can be a real pain. So when it comes to your food, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning. The first thing you need to do is plan your meal frequency. It may seem silly, but if you don’t do this first step then you may find yourself eating out at a fast food joint because you didn’t account for a meal. Up next we can dig in to planning your protein at every meal, your snacks (if you have them), your veggies at every meal, your fruit, your carbohydrates, and your treats. Along with ensuring that you’re using proper portion size and a meal prep routine, you may want to consider using ONE of these tips as well:
– If you’re eating a whole food carbohydrate source at each meal, adjust this first.
*This can mean going from 2 servings per meal to 1 serving per meal.
*This can also mean eliminating the carbohydrate source from 1 meal per day.
– If you’re eating a snack, eliminate it.
– If you’re eating 3 meals, reduce your meals to 2. Or perhaps 2 meals and a snack.
– If you’re eating a fattier protein source at one of your meals, change it to a leaner protein source.
Finally, we come to hydration. Now this might seem like a no-brainer, but your hydration level can have a large impact on your work life. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, tiredness, headaches, as well as declines in cognitive performance, eye-hand coordination, word recognition, visual attention, and of course physical activity. So make sure that your urine is a healthy color (see below) and check out this link to see how different beverages can influence your hydration level.
Back to Work
It’s no secret that exercise is good for you, and there are plenty of ways to go about it. But when it comes to those who sit too much, there are many things that you can do aside from getting those 10k steps in a day. This is particularly true for those with back pain, because we know that the special chair that you sit in, and those orthotics you’re wearing aren’t as beneficial as exercise. Aside from a specifically targeted stretching and strengthening program, some of the best moves you can do are these: