Roopa Rao, Automation Engineer
November 13, 2015

Unhealthy snacking, being glued to your desk all day, and even inadequate sleep can have long-term, negative effects on your workplace performance and your overall health. This blog post gives information about the risks of a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits, as well as tips from the author about how to avoid these risks.


man with apple at computerMost of us have sedentary office work involving staring at the computer for hours or sitting in meetings for long periods of time. Sometimes the only physical activity we do is walking from the parking lot to the office and back. Between our family and professional lives, we hardly get time to exercise. Plus, the stress of staying ahead in the rat-race and moving up the professional ladder can lead to serious health issues.

World Health Organization has issued a warning that physical inactivity is a leading cause of disease and disability. It cautions that “sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, depression and anxiety.” According to WHO, 60 to 85% of people in the world lead a sedentary lifestyle, making it one of the most serious yet insufficiently addressed public health problems of our time.

Here are some tips for staying healthy in the office:

1. Move: Make it a point to get up from your chair and take a short walk once every hour. Instead of keeping water in a big bottle at your desk to last the whole day, go to the kitchen and get water in small cups so that it would require you to refill every few hours. Instead of writing an email, walk up to the person and talk to him whenever possible. You will be able to convey your message more clearly and in less time. I have a Jawbone device around my wrist which vibrates and warns me if I am sedentary for an hour. I run up and down two flights of stairs. It takes me a minute, but gets my heart pumping and I return back to work rejuvenated.

2. Healthy snacking: My office keeps the snack pantry filled most of the time. It’s hard not to eat the yummy candies or cookies on the kitchen counter, but I try to make better choices with snacks. Instead of a cookie (my weakness), I eat some nuts or fresh fruit. Fortunately my office kitchen gives me lots of healthy snack options.

3. Exercise: Banish the “no time to exercise” excuse. Try to do some brisk walking during lunch hour. Try to park your car in the farthest parking spot which would require you to walk some distance to get to it. Use stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible. These are some free exercises we can do in our normal workday.

4. Eat right: Resist grabbing a quick lunch at the nearby fast-food chain. It is healthier to bring lunch from home and also costs less. But bringing lunch from home might not always be possible. Most of the fast-food chains do carry healthier lunch options these days. Buy salad instead of a white bread sandwich. Eating a low-carb, low-sodium and high-protein diet not only makes you to eat less, but also keeps you full for a long time. Watch out for hidden sugar in processed foods. Switch to whole foods and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

5. Get a good night’s sleep: Adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Sleeping less than that will affect our focus and productivity at work. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that reduced sleep increases food intake. When we are tired, our body also craves food high in carbs and over time it gets harder to resist them. Of course, napping in the office is a definite no-no.

REFERENCES:

Physical inactivity a leading cause of disease and disability, warns WHO: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/release23/en/

Acute partial sleep deprivation increases food intake in healthy men: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/6/1550.short

Roopa Rao, Automation Engineer
November 13, 2015

Unhealthy snacking, being glued to your desk all day, and even inadequate sleep can have long-term, negative effects on your workplace performance and your overall health. This blog post gives information about the risks of a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits, as well as tips from the author about how to avoid these risks.


man with apple at computerMost of us have sedentary office work involving staring at the computer for hours or sitting in meetings for long periods of time. Sometimes the only physical activity we do is walking from the parking lot to the office and back. Between our family and professional lives, we hardly get time to exercise. Plus, the stress of staying ahead in the rat-race and moving up the professional ladder can lead to serious health issues.

World Health Organization has issued a warning that physical inactivity is a leading cause of disease and disability. It cautions that “sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, depression and anxiety.” According to WHO, 60 to 85% of people in the world lead a sedentary lifestyle, making it one of the most serious yet insufficiently addressed public health problems of our time.

Here are some tips for staying healthy in the office:

1. Move: Make it a point to get up from your chair and take a short walk once every hour. Instead of keeping water in a big bottle at your desk to last the whole day, go to the kitchen and get water in small cups so that it would require you to refill every few hours. Instead of writing an email, walk up to the person and talk to him whenever possible. You will be able to convey your message more clearly and in less time. I have a Jawbone device around my wrist which vibrates and warns me if I am sedentary for an hour. I run up and down two flights of stairs. It takes me a minute, but gets my heart pumping and I return back to work rejuvenated.

2. Healthy snacking: My office keeps the snack pantry filled most of the time. It’s hard not to eat the yummy candies or cookies on the kitchen counter, but I try to make better choices with snacks. Instead of a cookie (my weakness), I eat some nuts or fresh fruit. Fortunately my office kitchen gives me lots of healthy snack options.

3. Exercise: Banish the “no time to exercise” excuse. Try to do some brisk walking during lunch hour. Try to park your car in the farthest parking spot which would require you to walk some distance to get to it. Use stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible. These are some free exercises we can do in our normal workday.

4. Eat right: Resist grabbing a quick lunch at the nearby fast-food chain. It is healthier to bring lunch from home and also costs less. But bringing lunch from home might not always be possible. Most of the fast-food chains do carry healthier lunch options these days. Buy salad instead of a white bread sandwich. Eating a low-carb, low-sodium and high-protein diet not only makes you to eat less, but also keeps you full for a long time. Watch out for hidden sugar in processed foods. Switch to whole foods and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

5. Get a good night’s sleep: Adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Sleeping less than that will affect our focus and productivity at work. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that reduced sleep increases food intake. When we are tired, our body also craves food high in carbs and over time it gets harder to resist them. Of course, napping in the office is a definite no-no.

REFERENCES:

Physical inactivity a leading cause of disease and disability, warns WHO: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/release23/en/

Acute partial sleep deprivation increases food intake in healthy men: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/6/1550.short