Even if you love your job, there’s no argument that it can make it more challenging to stay healthy. Finding time to workout, access to snacking, and all-day sitting are just a few of the health challenges you may face at work. We’ve come up with a few tips for keeping up your health during work hours.
Tips for staying healthy during the workday
Shut down technology during mealtime. Chewing thoroughly and relaxing while eating are crucial for proper digestion. When we’re in a state of stress, our bodies respond to the stress as the most critical priority, shutting down other functions like digestion until we signal that the stress is over. Even if you’re innocently dealing with a few emails over lunch, it takes away from your body’s ability to break down and absorb nutrients. Putting away your phone and computer allows for a true reset, which will actually make you more productive after you eat.
Go outside at least once a day. Many of our body’s functions are tied to our circadian rhythm, which is a roughly 24-hour cycle that plays off of sunlight (or lack thereof). Inadequate sunlight during the day and too much blue light from technology at night can leave the body confused, which can have a serious long-term impact on our ability to produce certain hormones, rest well at night, or respond to stress appropriately. Getting sunlight during the day is one way that we can stay on track. Try taking a walk, eating lunch outside, or even just standing near a bright window for a few minutes each day.
Take time to stand once an hour. The lack of movement in modern-day living is proving to have serious consequences on our longevity. Regular movement improves circulation, lowers your risk of heart disease, and helps prevent diabetes. Studies have shown that those who sit for ten hours a day have a 65% greater risk of death than those who sat for four or fewer hours per day. What’s more is, it’s been shown that avid exercisers and couch potatoes alike are equally impacted by prolonged sitting. If you’re not convinced by the health benefits, consider your work efficiency. By taking a short break (ideally to stand, stretch, or walk), you’ll return to your work with more focus.
Drink plenty of water. Water is crucial for almost every function in the body. In fact, at just three-percent dehydration (this is about the point most people feel thirsty), your metabolism begins to slow by up to two-percent. This means your organ function decreases, digestion slows, and circulation is negatively impacted. Simply sipping water combats those issues. You should aim for at least half your body weight in ounces, plus eight additional ounces for each caffeinated beverage or thirty minutes of exercise you do.
Batch cook lunches that will take you through the entire week. Eating balanced, nutrient-dense meals is an obvious way to improve health. When you’re left to make lunch during an already busy morning routine, it becomes tempting to stick with takeout. However, if you can find a few easy-to-make recipes that will last for a few days (or all week), you’ll be more likely to keep your promise of bringing lunch from home.
Try this prepare-ahead meal of Mediterranean salad
We’ve created this Mediterranean salad with longevity in mind. Not only does it taste great, but it’s also loaded with nutrients and will keep in the fridge for a full week.
1.5 cups quinoa, uncooked
1 can chickpeas
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 small red onion
1/3 cup pitted olives
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pinenuts
1/2 tablespoon za’atar spice
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Once done cooking, let cool to room temperature.
Prepare vegetables. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, then into slices. Juice the lemon. Chop the red onion finely. Cut olives in half. Remove stems and mince parsley. Mince garlic. Drain, rinse, and dry chickpeas.
Add all ingredients to quinoa. Pour over olive oil and lemon juice, then toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This Mediterranean salad can be served immediately or stored in the refrigerator for a week.
Recipe and photography by Kaitlyn Noble
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