Top Tips for Leading a Healthy Lifestyle at Work
Going to work shouldn't be a barrier to leading a healthy lifestyle. There are many quick and easy ways to build healthy habits into your working day that actually help you to stay energised and focused. On this page we give you some Top Tips for being active, eating well, and staying positive at work.
Sit Less @Work
- Take regular breaks from your computer. Set reminders on your calendar to encourage you to stand and move every 30-60 minutes.
- Stand or pace whilst answering the telephone. Try a sit-stand desk.
- Stand for the minutes/any other business sections of meetings or take a walking meeting.
- Walk over to your colleague's desk to talk rather than emailing.
- Organise your workplace so that things aren't within reach. Make sure the printer is on the far side of the office, for example.
Move More @Work
- Park your car further from the office so that you walk for longer or leave your lunch in your car so that you have to walk to go and get it.
- Organise for you and your colleagues to go for a run or walk at lunchtime.
- Take the stairs rather than the escalator/lift. You increase your heart rate and burn more calories!
- Set challenges with your colleagues, how many flights of stairs can you climb in 10 minutes, or how many steps can you walk at lunchtime?
- Deskercise! There are lots of exercises that you can complete from the comfort of your own desk.
Active travel is an approach to travel and transport that focuses on physical activity (walking and cycling) as opposed to motorised and carbon-dependent means.
We all rely heavily on cars and public transport, because they make our lives so easy. Whilst it can take a bit longer and you may not be able to do it for all of your journeys, making active travel choices is an easy way to fit activity into your day.
The benefits of active travel are huge. It reduces car travel and pollution, limits road danger and noise, increases the number of people out on the streets (making public spaces more welcoming), is free (or low cost), and has numerous physical and mental health benefits.
Walking to Work
Why should you walk to work?
- You're in charge. You decide if you want to cut the route down, or run some errands along the way.
- A reliable journey. There's no traffic when you walk, you're entirely in control.
- Thinking time. Clear your head and de-stress - get to work in a better mood!
- Easy exercise. Walking reguarly can build your fitness and help to reduce your risk of all kinds of health problems.
- More pounds in your pocket. There is no doubt that walking is the cheapest method of travel. The only thing you'll be spending is calories!
- Keep up to date with your community. Keep your eye out for all the changes that happen on your route - whether it's a new shop, restaurant or cafe, you'll be more likely to notice it if you're walking.
Cycling to Work
Tips for your first commute by bike:
- Begin with a frequency and distance that is achievable. Perhaps get a lift to work and try riding home to begin with.
- Do a practice cycle at the weekend - learn the route that you will take so that you know how much time you will need to leave to get to work.
- Learn how to change your tyre and remember to bring the tools to help you do so - you don't want to be stuck with a mechanical failure when you should be in a 9am meeting.
- Pack your bag the night before. Remember a change of clothes and shoes if you are wearing active wear for your journey.
- Safety first - always remember your helmet, lights and reflective clothing.
Cycle to Work Scheme
The Cycle to Work Scheme is designed to help you save money on a new bike for work by spreading the cost of a bike over 12 monthly tax-free installments through your employer.
- Your workplace registers with the scheme.
- You choose the bike you want.
- Your employer pays for it.
- You pay your employer back through 12 monthly installments taken through payroll.
Eat Well @Work
- Have a filling breakfast – this will make you less likely to snack during the morning. It will make you more productive too!
- Try to prepare healthy meals for the week ahead that can be stored in the fridge or freezer. It can save you money, leaves you with more time in the mornings, and can help you to maintain a healthy weight.
- Be smart about your snacks. Bringing healthy snacks that release their energy slowly can make you feel less hungry and stop you heading for the vending machine. Think fruit, cereal bars low in sugar, yoghurt.
- Drink well - staying properly hydrated improves your concentration and helps you stay on task. Keep a water bottle on your desk to make sure you're drinking plenty.
Be Happy @Work
- Use your lunch break to refresh ready for the afternoon. Take a short walk; get some exercise and a change of scenery.
- Make the office environment more comfortable. Keep your desk tidy, invest in a plant or something to brighten up your work area, and bring photos/things from home that make you smile.
- Avoid taking phone calls or checking emails outside of office hours.
- Make a note of when you find yourself getting stressed. This way you can identify the different triggers and try to avoid them.
- Take 5 minutes at your desk to relax. There are lots of apps which can help you to settle your breathing and relax your muscles.
- Share your problems/worries with someone else, a problem shared is a problem halved. Your line manager may be able to help to reduce some of your workload.
- Make time for you – plan things to look forward to in the evenings and at the weekends.
- Manage your time, get organised and try not to do too many things at once.
- Take some time off – you are entitled to holiday and annual leave so make sure you use it to help you refresh.