7 Tips to Make Your Workplace a Healthy One

Rick Morrone

| 4 min read

It’s true – job stress can lead to a series of health issues like high blood pressure, chronic migraines, and weight gain. When you sit in your cubicle or office for the bulk of the day, it gets hard to incorporate activity. Also, many people are too tired to go to the gym after a long day of work.
So, here are a few tips for keeping your blood flowing during the work day. Not only do these activities help me physically, but they also may keep me motivated and refreshed at work.

Take the stairs rather than the elevator

Why not? You don’t have to run the stairs from floor 2 to 20 – but taking the stairs either up or down less than 5 flights is a good rule of thumb. It’s just enough to give your legs and lungs a jolt, and it won’t be overbearing.

Use a pedometer

You can buy a pedometer and give yourself a reasonable goal for steps each day. Once you start consistently reaching your goal for a few weeks, challenge yourself with a new, higher goal. Your strategy to reach a certain number of steps might call for delivering documents to your co-worker instead of e-mailing them, or taking a lap around your department when you need a break from your desk. Also, it doesn’t hurt to go speak in person with a coworker instead of calling on the phone.

Give your eyes a break from the computer screen

If you are in front of a computer screen for long periods of time throughout the day, you can really damage your vision if you don’t give your eyes a break every so often. My eye doctor recommended that every 10 minutes, I should take my eyes off of the screen and focus on a point in the distance (like a clock, sign, or a far corner in the ceiling) for about 30 seconds to a minute. Staring at a computer screen for too long without breaks can lead to a lot of headaches, causing you more unneeded stress in your work day. Another useful method is the “20-20-20” rule, which is explained further here.

Keep ankle weights underneath your desk

Ankle weights are meant for leg exercises, like leg lifts. If you keep a pair underneath your desk, you can do sitting leg lifts while you are doing your work. They don’t have to be very heavy, just a few pounds will do to give your legs a little bit of resistance. A little bit goes a long way if you do it periodically during the day.

Use an exercise ball instead of a desk chair

People strain their back when they sit improperly in a chair for a long period of time. Sitting on an exercise ball will help you concentrate on sitting up straight, and at the same time give your abs a work out. You’d be surprised how much your core works to keep yourself balanced and steady on the ball. Try this for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 in the afternoon. Maybe you and your co-workers could pitch in and buy one so you can rotate it around the office. Not a bad idea!

Have a stress ball handy

Squeezing a stress ball while doing your work can keep your blood flowing through your arms, work your forearms, strengthen your grip, and relieve some stress, too.

Stay flexible

If you’re sitting at your desk for too long, you are going to stiffen up and could possibly pull a muscle when you do end up getting up and walking around. To avoid stiff muscles, stand up every so often and do some trunk twists for your back, try to touch your toes a few times, and/or stretch out your arms and legs in any way that is comfortable for you. Don’t hurt yourself – make sure you know your limits.
I hope you try or have tried one of these suggestions. Let me know if you have. Remember: a strong body can lead to a strong mind.
photo credit: neems74

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