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Improving Health in the Workplace

In this article we talk about looking after our health then discuss some simple and effective ways we can improve our health during the working week.

Written by Mel Bradley
Published on October 25, 2019

There are becoming less and less reasons to move within our day to day lives than ever before - we have created a world which allows us to move as little as possible in order to make the way we use our time as efficient as possible. This is great for our productivity but not for our waistlines and overall health - both mental and physical. Mental Health is becoming less and less of a taboo subject and we are starting to acknowledge how important it is to look after what goes on upstairs. Luckily, working on our physical health can have a positive knock on effect in that it can help improve our mental health.

One of the best and most effective ways to increase our health while at work is fitting in some physical activity on our lunch - a lot of workers find it hard to detach themselves and will often eat their meals at the desk or use their lunch to catch up on emails. This can become an unhealthy habit - giving your mind a break from work is really important, it gives us a chance to recharge, think about something else - anything else and focus on our energy on ourselves. This is where incorporating some sort of physical activity can be a great option for our lunch hour. When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins which make us feel good!

Endorphins are actually released as a result of the body being put under stress, as it is a pain mediation. It has been found it can be released after just ten minutes of activity (Zhang & Chen, 2019)- something which can easily be achieved on our lunch break and can be tailored for your fitness levels, we don’t have to reach for the stars - getting outside and doing a ten minute brisk walk, for most, will do the trick.

The benefits of incorporating physical activity into our daily lives are hard to argue against. it includes increasing life expectancy, eye health, reduces blood pressure, etc. etc. So here are some tips on how to increase our activity levels Monday to Friday:

Set your alarm 30min earlier

To workout, walk or cycle to work or park a little further away

Walk

Whenever, wherever you can! Set an alarm on your phone to make you move, have walking meetings, park a little further away, take the stairs, walk on a lunchtime

Invest in a Fitbit or movement tracker and set yourself a realistic target

Start by wearing for a couple of ‘normal’ days for you - see how many steps you are achieving and then set your goal a little higher and make sure you hit it!

Drink more Water

you’ll see why soon enough!

Have your packed gym bag in your car

This means you can get to the gym straight from work or on the way to work with that extra time you have set your alarm 30mins earlier - there is nothing worse than getting home and then having to go back out - it requires so much more motivation. If you can just go on your way home this is an absolute win!

Once we have one of them down, we can move on to the next - the only other piece of advice I would give is to address one at a time, changing everything at once may seem doable for a few weeks but could become overwhelming and hard to maintain where as biting off small chunks and celebrating the little wins make these behaviours much more likely to stick around long term.

If we introduce even one of these ideas into our day to day life and keep it up so that it becomes a habit, the benefits are much more likely to crossover into the rest of our lives not just our work life. In the next article we will look into how we can improve our diet within our work week, no matter how busy we are.

Zhang, Z. & Chen, W.. (2018) A Systematic Review of the relationship between Physical active and Happiness, Journal of Happiness Studies, 20(4), 1305-1322.