Here’s how to have a healthier work day

Here’s how to have a healthier work day

Having an occupation that keeps you on your feet most hours of the day is not a free pass to optimal health.

That’s because the effects of a sedentary lifestyle can even catch up to “active” professionals working in fields such as banking, health care, law enforcement, manufacturing and retail, if you’re not careful.

In fact, people working in professions that require standing in one place or moving around in a confined space for hours can be just as susceptible to high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes as those who spend their days sitting behind a desk.

Dr. Prentiss Taylor, an internal medicine physician at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago and medical director of Advocate At Work fitness/wellness coaching, says that no matter what your profession, optimal health depends on your ability to focus on fitness both when you’re off the clock and while you work.

“Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days can enhance the quality of your cardiovascular health, boost your productivity and help you feel more satisfied with your job,” he says. And while on the job, “the idea is to change positions, walk, move around and stretch every hour.”

Dr. Taylor recommends the following tips to make fitness part of your workday routine:

Before work:

  • Cycle to work on nice days whenever possible, switching between intervals of brisk and slower-paced cycling
  • Park your car or exit public transportation a half-mile away and walk to and from work, changing pace from faster to slower walking and vice versa
  • Stretch your limbs, hands, feet and back before you get down to business

During work:

  • Trek around your indoor walking path (if your company does not have one, ask about establishing one)
  • Stand on an anti-fatigue floor mat, if your work requires you to be stationed in one spot
  • Walk a lap around your vehicle, every time you’re parked in a safe place along your route

Dr. Taylor admits that stepping away from a long “to-do” list at work can be difficult, especially when things are hectic. So, he suggests making the most of your scheduled breaks with the help of a fitness tracker that will remind you to stretch and take steps every hour. Dr. Taylor also recommends resisting the urge to work through lunch and instead focus on fitness.

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About the Author

Cassie Richardson
Cassie Richardson

Cassie Richardson, health enews contributor, is regional coordinator on Advocate Aurora Health's Public Affairs team. She has more than 10 years of experience in health care communications, marketing, media and public relations. Cassie is a fan of musical theater and movies. When she’s not spreading the word about health and wellness advancements, she enjoys writing fiction.