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By Ariana Jackson / Sep 15, 2016

Staying Healthy at Work Can Help You—and Your Job—Save Money

oatmeal on a desk with juice and laptop open The decisions you make at work—since you spend 40+ hours a week there—have a profound impact on your overall lifestyle. Making healthy choices at work means you’re both literally and figuratively making a living.

Consider the choice of going for an apple vs. potato chips when you get hunger pangs or going for a walk as opposed to sitting at your desk for lunch.

Here are a few tips for maintaining your healthy lifestyle during the work day:

  • Stand up more often: Research shows that sitting for too long can negatively impact your health, causing higher risk of cardiovascular disease and an overall higher risk of death from any cause. Setting a timer to get up and walk around, or at least stand, every hour will be beneficial to your posture, circulation and overall health. Get creative! Try standing up and doing a squat or a few jumping jacks next to your desk every half hour. Adjustable standing desks can help combat the risk of illnesses like Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and contribute to overall longevity.  Be sure to get an anti-fatigue mat to accompany your standing desk, which will help alleviate discomfort related to standing for a longer period of time. The best course of action with standing desks is to alternate sitting and standing throughout the day. 
  • Pack healthy snacks: Do you get the dreaded 3 p.m. energy slump? Bringing healthy snacks like fruit, nuts/seeds and string cheese will help you stay full and provide nutrition when you’re craving salty and sweet snacks that—when from the typical vending machine—are far higher in calories, sugar, artificial ingredients, and salt. Excess consumption of “junk foods” like fast food staples, sweets, and foods high in sodium can lead to or worsen health issues like high blood pressure, mood disorders, and high cholesterol. 
  • Get moving: If your office building has a fitness center, take advantage of this perk. If you prefer to go outside, try to take walks as often as possible. Maybe you can even encourage your supervisor to embrace walking meetings. Apple founder Steve Jobs was known to be fond of walking meetings, which have been shown to improve creativity in the workplace. Take the stairs as often as possible. 
  • Relax: Stress is seen as a badge of honor in too many workplaces—but it can have serious physical and mental implications. Some days at work can be more stressful than others. Don’t push yourself to the point of exhaustion and burnout. With reports stating that Americans use only 51% of their annual paid vacation time, it’s not a stretch of the imagination to see that stress can get the better of us sometimes. Money is reported as the most common and pervasive cause of stress for 64% of Americans, which could be a contributing factor for many Americans choosing not to take their hard-earned vacation days. If you still don’t want to use that paid time off for a well-deserved break, consider using quiet spaces for naps or meditation if your job offers quiet areas.

Additionally, many companies offer workplace wellness programs in conjunction with company-sponsored health insurance plans, to encourage employees to adopt preventive health care habits and practices. These programs often offer health screenings and incentives to make healthy choices, which benefit both employers and employees.

While your employer benefits by having you around longer, with fewer sick days and increased productivity, you save your own money by avoiding some health care costs and missed work days that would result from illness. Even more valuable, you receive the information and resources you need to be proactive and take charge of living as healthfully as possible in and outside of your working life.

 

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