Healthy Habits in the Workplace

healthy habits workplace

It makes good business sense to provide employees with opportunities to improve their health. According to Health Canada’s Corporate Health Model, “Companies with health programs have discovered that when employees feel good about their health, they work better, don’t take as much time off work for sick leave and choose to stay with the company longer.” Health and wellness in the workplace is good for business as well as the individuals who work there.

On average, 60% of an employee’s waking hours are spent at the workplace, according to Canadian Health Network’s 2002 Guide to Nutrition in the Workplace. That means that at least one meal and one snack enjoyed during the day is done so near a workplace or at a desk.

Pack a Healthy Lunch

But regardless of the work environment, there are ways to ensure that employees are getting the best healthy habits in their work routine. The best place to start to increase health in the workplace is by bringing a bagged lunch. Opt out of eating in fast food restaurants or cafeterias because they often lack vegetables, fruit and milk, as well eating without the hassle of lining up for food, will give leave more time to be active during the lunch hour. If finding healthy ideas for lunches is a task, refer to Canada’s Food Guide, which lists various foods that are needed throughout the day to ensure healthy eating.

Take the Stairs, or go for a Walk

If the office environment offers the choice between the elevator and the stairs, take the stairs. Just 10 minutes of physical activity is good for the mind, body and soul. It helps to rejuvenate people who’ve been sitting all day and can help add 30- 60 minutes extra activity over the course of a day. Studies have shown that employees who put physical activity in their day are more satisfied with their work environment. And to support these findings further, an article in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that when signs are posted in stairwells promoting the health benefits of stair climbing, it increased traffic in those stairwells by 190% and other nearby stairwells by 52%.

Not to mention, taking the stairs can burn almost five times more calories than riding an elevator. To better explain this equation, in one-minute a 150-pound person can burn 10 calories by walking up the stairs as compared to 1.5 calories riding the elevator. Another thing to remember is climbing stairs actually brings down blood pressure.

Encourage Co-Workers to get Active

If motivation is the thing lacking in staying healthy, the best way to ensure the success of for a healthy work environment is to encourage co-workers to be active with you. Not only will it help to maintain physical activity, but it is a great way to get to know the people in the office and build morale.

So aside from daily office routines, don’t forget to add a healthy lunch, extra activity and organize a group exercise plan for lunch to ensure a healthy work environment.

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