7 unhealthy work habits that you need to break today
The majority of us spend much of our week working, whether from home or in an office setting. When we’re at home we remember to cook our meals, pack our lunches and take ourselves to bed early in order to remain at our best, but sometimes we then fall into a pattern of less healthy habits when at work, that can stall our progress or even significantly delay achieving our goals.
The 7 most common bad habits that we have while working, and how to break them:
- The problem: Sitting down all dayBeing sedentary simply isn’t good for you. Sitting down all day on an ongoing basis can eventually lead to health issues such as high blood pressure, weight gain or even heart problems.
- The solution: Make sure you get up each hour and move around, even if it’s just a walk to the water cooler or to the elevator and back again. Set a timer to remind you if necessary. You could also try a standing desk, or a walk outside while on a conference call.
- The problem: Bad postureYou might know how you should be sitting, but are you actually doing it? A very common bad habit in the office is slouching over your computer rather than sitting up straight, which can cause back and neck pain and make the issue even worse.
- The solution: invest in a good chair and make sure your computer is at the right height for you (have it on a stand if necessary). Your feet should be flat on the floor, your back should be straight and your arms should sit at a 90 degree angle.
- The problem: Sitting cross-leggedCrossing your legs can put pressure on your veins, which can lead to pins and needles at first and lead to back pain later on.
- The solution: Keep your feet flat on the ground or keep a book on your lap to remind you not to cross your legs without thinking.
- The problem: Mindless snackingPerhaps you feel the need to reach for the salted peanuts during the afternoon slump, or maybe there is a team candy jar sitting on the desk at all times, but the calories from mindless snacking can really add up and you could gain weight without even realising.
- The solution: Fuel your day with whole foods, sufficient protein and slow-digesting carbohydrates to ensure that your blood sugar remains stable throughout the day and you aren’t tempted to snack. When you do eat, focus only on your meal and try not to be distracted. If you like to snack, bring healthy snacks to work such as vegetable sticks and make sure you drink plenty of water so that you don’t confuse hunger for thirst.
- The problem: Not drinking enough waterBeing even a little dehydrated makes for a slower brain, more hunger pangs (these may in fact be thirst pangs) and can lead to headaches and slower recovery from exercise.
- The solution: Monitor your water intake to make sure you consume enough. You could keep a 2 litre water bottle on your desk. fill it each morning and try to drink the whole thing during your working day, or even tick off each time you finish a glass of water – then get up and walk to the water cooler, which also helps you be less sedentary!
- The problem: Not getting any sunlightDirect sunlight on our skin is the main way that our bodies produce vitamin D, which we need for bone density and a properly functioning immune system, among many other things. Not getting enough can leave us prone to fragile bones, depression and illness.
- The solution: book a lunchtime walk or take 15 minutes in the morning and again in the afternoon to go outside. The different types of light entering our eye at different times of day also help to regulate our circadian rhythm, leading to better sleep.
- The problem: Working through your lunch hourWhether it is a tight deadline or a demanding client, working for too long in one go without a break can actually mean you end up being less productive overall.
- The solution: Commit to going for at least a 30 minute walk during your lunch break, book a foot massage or plan to have lunch with friends or colleagues, either of which provide some down time from the pressures of work and revitalise you so that you can concentrate better for the rest of the afternoon.
Once you’ve taken care of your bad habits at work, read this article to learn how to moderate the effects of socialising on your fitness:
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