5 tips for improving health in the workplace
This morning I attended a talk presented by the Denver Chamber of Commerce on Corporate wellness. Colorado is considered the slimmest state in the Union with an obesity rate of 22% (7% in 1992!) In the last 18 years, an additional 15% of Coloradoans have become obese…That’s almost 1% per year. With obesity comes increased risk of health issues including Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
The cost of providing health insurance to American employees is forcing companies to outsource labor to India, Mexico or other countries so American products can stay competitive in the global market place. If this trend continues, the unemployment figures of today will be a distant memory of how great things used to be.
The bottom line is that we need a vital and healthy workforce that doesn’t need frequent healthcare. How do we achieve that? Here are a few helpful tips to make your workplace healthier.
Move throughout the day – During my first year of naturopathic medical school I sat upwards of 70 hours per week either in class or studying. I lamented to a friend that flab was taking over but that I had neither the time nor the energy to do anything about it. My friend shared a secret she learned in the military to keep herself in shape.
At the top of every hour, she set an alarm. When the alarm went off, she would do 10 push –ups. When she finished she set the alarm again for 60 minutes and when it rang, she did another 10. By the end of an 8 hour day, she had done 80 pushups!
I did this throughout medical school and weighed the same as when I started while keeping my muscle tone.
If you sit at a desk all day, try this trick. At the top of the first hour, get on the floor and do 10 sit ups. At the top of the next hour, do 10 lunges. At the top of the third hour, do 10 push-ups. At the top of the next hour, do 2 minutes of yoga. At the end of the day you’ll have done 80 reps of different exercise building muscle tone, getting circulation going and avoiding “office ass.” Rope in your co-workers and do it together! They’ll love it too!
Pack your lunch – Eating lunch out 5 days per week can not only be a budget breaker but also calorie dense and nutritionally void contributing to a widening waistline. Bringing your lunch saves time…so you can go for a mid-day walk…and can include much healthier food choices in portions that are more appropriate than many restaurants serve these days. Prewashed salads mixes with deli chicken or tuna salad and a few things from the olive bar can make a delicious, nutritious lunch that will stick with you throughout the day.
Stay away from the vending machine – Keep high protein snacks in your desk instead of hitting the vending machine. Whole Foods has snack foods…chocolates, trail mix and other items that are gluten free, non-gmo, trans-fat free yet taste good and are healthier treats than anything you get out of the standard vending machine. The average American vending machine snacks are chock full of artificial colors and flavors, trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup, GMO corn, gluten and enough sugar to send anyone into hyperglycemic shock. Avoiding junk can only do your body good.
Keep plants in your office – Because of the symbiotic relationship that humans have with plants, there is nothing better for cleaning up the air and increasing oxygen in your environment than houseplants. Plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and replace it with oxygen but NASA studies found that plants also remove the out-gassing of benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde; all toxic chemicals commonly found in plastics, paints and pressed wood products. Philodendron, Spider plants and Dracaena were among the most effective air scrubbers…and they’re beautiful too!
Love your work – The best possible scenario is that you love your job, the work you do and everyone that you work with. If that is you, then you are already cultivating health by merely being happy during your work day. If that’s not you, until you can find the profession of your dreams, developing an attitude of gratitude for what you do have, finding things you like about your work and making peace with your co-workers will serve you…and your health…very well.
Dr. Cheri King, ND
Dr. Cheri King is a licensed naturopathic physician in the State of Oregon. She attended National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR where she graduated with honors in research for her work investigating detoxification diets.
She is a cofounder of the Naturopathic Medical Student Association, and received the Jim Lemkin World in Balance award for achievement in applying holistic healing principles in her own life as well as the lives of others. She also received the David Family Award scholarship and the Founders merit scholarship for outstanding performance.
She teaches nutrition and wellness at the Community College of Denver and sees patients at her private practice, Colorado Natural Health Center, in Louisville, CO.
For more information about Dr. King go to www.coloradonaturalhealthcenter.com