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10 Ways to Stay Healthy at Work

Meredith Miller | Published: June 14, 2018

Apple on work computer

Staying Healthy

If you are like most working Americans you spend more than a third of your week at work.  Staying healthy during these hours can prove to be difficult since you are more focused on doing a good job than you are on your own health.  However, it’s important not to neglect your health, so we’ve put together a few ways to keep you healthy while at work. 

1) Eating Healthy and Staying Hydrated

To maintain healthy muscles and joints for work, you must keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water, along with eating well-balanced meals. Fruits and vegetables, are the perfect snacks for work because they contain vital nutrients, and are low in calories which helps your blood pressure if you spend most of your day sitting at a desk. 

The American Heart Association online says that staying hydrated is just as important as keeping a healthy diet.  Being properly hydrated can reduce headaches, swelling, and even help prevent heart disease.

2) Avoid Sick Co-Workers

The workplace is becoming more competitive, which means more of your co-workers are showing up when they should be staying home. The reason?  They don’t want to get behind on their workload by taking a sick day.  

The office setting makes it difficult to avoid co-workers because of your close proximity.  If you work on a computer, it may be easy to ask anyone who is sick to work from home.  If they can’t work from home, make sure your management knows there is a bug going around the office, and they may require those who have it to take the day to avoid getting the whole office sick.  If all else fails, stock up on hand sanitizer.   

3) Tension Neck Syndrome 

Neck pain, such as tension neck syndrome, happens if you're constantly using your arms to lift as part of your job tasks, or even from poor posture. Even the daily usage of your computer mouse is related to tension neck syndrome and muscle fatigue. 

If you use your computer mouse more than 20, or even 25 hours during the week, you are at risk to develop tension neck syndrome. Try stretching your muscles to improve and maintain your health, and avoid any tension in your neck.  

4) Staring at Your Computer 

Staring at your computer for too long, which I’m sure we are all guilty of, can lead to something called computer vision syndrome.  Computer vision syndrome leads to eye strain and even pain.  

To avoid computer vision syndrome, make sure you have proper lighting at your workstation, and position your desk and chair in a way that doesn’t strain your body. In addition, be sure to take a break from your computer periodically and adjust the settings on your computers such as font size and brightness to avoid stressing your eyes. 

5) Stress 

Research by the American Institute of Stress found that stress at work has seen a dramatic increase in recent years. These new levels of stress stem from longer work hours and the employees feeling they have “little control but lots of demand.”  This stress is linked to higher rates of heart attacks and hypertension, among other harmful disorders. 

Physical activity and healthy meals have been found to trigger certain hormones in your body that reduce stress.  Try switching up your diet, or even get a standing desk to keep your stress levels down.  Keeping yourself organized, and reducing clutter have also been linked to keeping your stress levels in check.

6) Long Days and Lack Of Sleep 

According to TIME, working adults over 18 years old should be getting between 7-8 hours of sleep each night.  Getting the right amount of sleep will allow you to be more alert and focused at work, making you more productive.  More importantly, getting the right amount of sleep will have positive effects on your health which include reduced risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke 

7) Take Vacations 

Taking more vacation time sounds terrible, doesn’t it?  You’ll be happy to learn that vacations do more than just give you time to see the world and break up the mundane work week.  Health Net Inc. conducted a survey and found that when you take a vacation from work you are more productive and have lower stress levels. 

8 ) Sitting For Extended Periods of Time 

The Mayo Clinic online warns of the numerous health problems that may stem from sitting for extended periods of time.  These potential health conditions include obesity, higher blood and cholesterol levels, and higher blood sugar to name a few.  

Make sure to switch up your day by getting out of the office for a nice walk during your breaks, or even just stretching at your desk for a few minutes each hour.  A little sunshine and some fresh air can work wonders. 

9) Office Germs 

It’s impossible to escape germs, they’re everywhere, and your workplace is no exception. Surprisingly, Health Status online found that computer keyboards can contain just as many germs as a bathroom toilet seats.  Try using disinfectant wipes for items you use on a daily basis, and make sure to wash your hands throughout the day to stop the spread of germs.

10) Too Much Caffeine 

It’s difficult to walk down the street without seeing a Starbucks or high schoolers with their Pumpkin Spice Lattes in hand.  Our society has an obsession with these caffeinated drinks, and for good reason, they help give you a quick pick me up to help you make it through the day.  But are we going overboard?     

Too much caffeine can actually have negative effects on your work performance and overall health.  High caffeine consumption may lead to migraines, nervousness, fast heartbeats, anxiety, and irritability.  Instead of reaching for your 4th cup of Joe in the afternoon, try eating an apple instead which has similar results as drinking a cup of coffee.