Healthy Living at Work – February is Heart Month!
Celebrating healthy living at work this month with exercises to do at the office and some packable healthy lunch ideas.
Healthy Living, including daily activity and a good diet, is important for our intellectual and physical well being. North Americans spend approximately 40 hours a week at our place of work, offering us the greatest opportunity to take in our 150 minutes per week of vigorous exercise.
Many of us spend most of that time in the office, sitting at a desk. After work, and we often sit to commute home (car, bus, taxi, etc.). In the evening, we often need to be at a computer again. We sit, yet again, to finish the work we brought home or do personal online business. According to Statistics Canada research, sitting has become the “new smoking”, and becoming a serious concern.
“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” ~John F. Kennedy
Too much sitting and unhealthy eating habits have created an epidemic of heart and other physical related diseases. From 1985 to 2011 obesity has tripled in Canada.
Considering the amount of time we spend eating at work, having a plan to eat a nutritious diet is important. Some of us eat breakfast on the way to work, and then there are at least a couple of snack times, and of course lunch. There are so many recipes now available online now that there is no excuse to not find a recipe that you will enjoy. Creative recyclable containers are available to pack a lunch. Consider a mason jar to pack a layered salad. Make extra soup for dinner the night before so you have leftovers for lunch. Make up a smoothie the night before and leave it in the fridge so you can blend and go in the morning.
Knowing you need to be more active and eat better is one thing, but maintaining healthy habits can be difficult. There are a lot of ideas, but you have to find out what works best for you. Consider your schedule, your work environment and, of course, always remember to consult with a physician before starting any new exercises or diet changes.
Here are a few quick exercise ideas and packable, healthy lunch recipes you might want to try as you venture off to work this week.
Stay Active at the Office – Exercise Tips
- Coffee break power lunges
- Choose a restaurant at lunch that has a healthy menu and requires you to walk at least a block to get there
- Take the stairs
- Wall sit while on the phone
- Stretching while on a conference call (make sure it isn’t a video conference call)
- Set an alarm every 20 minutes to remind you to do your stretching exercises.
- When a favourite song comes on, dance like nobody is watching! If you work in an open office, you might want to find a safe place with some privacy to do high energy dancing so that you don’t distract your co-workers.
- Choose an ergonomic office chair – While at your desk, your posture will be supported
- Business doesn’t always have to be done in the office – schedule meetings when possible outdoors: Take a walk, golf, or even go out for a bike ride.
More Exercise Ideas
Here is a plan to get 30 minutes of your exercise at your desk in an 8-hour work day. Click to view the Infographic Infographic of exercises.
See an interactive article on the www.washingtonpost.com where you can vote on what exercises you would most likely do at work. It includes a video and downloadable poster to put up at work.
Healthy Lunches to Pack for Work
Bean & Cheese Salad
Whisk 1 part lemon juice to 2 parts olive oil; season with black pepper. Add finely chopped shallot, let sit for a few minutes, then toss with canned, rinsed cannellini beans (white kidney beans), feta or goat cheese crumbles, thinly sliced cucumber half-moons, and chopped fresh dill or parsley. Pack with multigrain pita chips or pockets. Full recipe at www.bonappetit.com
Veggie and Hummus Sandwich
Sprouted whole-grain bread, hummus, cucumber, tomato, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, grated carrots. Full recipe at www.popsugar.com
Low-Carb Tortilla Less Soup
Yellow onion, garlic, jalapeño peppers, chicken stock, fire-roasted tomatoes, cooked chicken breast, cilantro, juice of limes, avocado, ghee (clarified butter). Full recipe at www.popsugar.com
Canada’s Heart & Stroke Foundation
Canada’s Heart & Stroke Foundation offers a resource of information and support to those who are looking to healthy living options while at work and at home.
For more information and to donate to Canada’s Heart & Stroke Foundation, see below.
- Heart & Stroke Foundation – Race to Save Lives
- Heart & Stroke Foundation – A NEAT way to increase your activity
- Longer hours, more stress: The new reality in the Canadian workplace – The Province
- Sedentary Living is the New Smoking and We are Paying for It – Study – www.cbc.ca
- Canada’s Obesity Rates Triple in Less than 30 years – www.cbc.ca