The digital age has made jobs increasingly sedentary.
Nowadays, it often happens that we are in the same office as our colleagues, yet we communicate through work platforms. As screen time increases, so does our sedentary lifestyle. Have you noticed that your lunches require less preparation and have become less healthy? This not only causes discomfort among employees who can't eat as they would like but also leads to certain health issues such as stress, fatigue, and weight gain.
This makes us wonder, is it possible to lead a healthy life while working full-time in front of a screen all day?
The shift to sedentary lifestyles neglects the fact that we are what we eat. If we choose to eat highly processed foods, which are mainly composed of a few basic ingredients along with a variety of additives such as preservatives, colourings and flavour enhancers, we are incorporating substances that, instead of providing nutritional value, deceive our perception of hunger and satiety. Instead of helping us to maintain a balanced diet, these products contribute to an imbalance in our nutrition.
In this way, what we are looking for here is to promote new techniques to incorporate into our daily lives and not let work force us to lead a life in which we cannot take care of our health. Discover how to balance a healthy lifestyle with work.
If we feel healthy, we feel more motivated. Researchers at Harvard Medical School say eating right could boost your energy and enhance your athletic performance. A major review of nutrition research found that a healthy diet can improve how long and how well you sleep.
Sedentary Lifestyle and Healthy Eating
In modern life, individuals working in a physical office setting often struggle to find time to prioritize their health. After becoming accustomed to home-cooked, healthy meals during the COVID-19 pandemic, employees returning to the daily office routine have found it challenging to maintain this habit. Many now face a delicate balance between office work and incorporating healthy eating, which ultimately serves as their primary source of energy for the day and enables them to engage in activities like post-work runs or gatherings with friends.
To counter the reliance on processed foods and fast-food options, which have a detrimental impact on health, we introduce these tips:
Meal Planning: Set aside time each week to plan your meals. Create a weekly menu that includes healthy and easy-to-prepare dishes. This will help you purchase the necessary ingredients and save time in the kitchen.
Meal Prep: Designate a day of the week to cook and prepare extra portions of food that you can freeze or refrigerate for later consumption. This way, you'll have ready-to-heat meals when you're pressed for time.
Simple and Healthy Meals: Opt for straightforward and nutritious recipes that require less preparation time. Examples include salads, omelets, vegetable wraps, and oven-baked dishes – quick and nourishing options.
Workplace Kitchen: Propose the creation of a workplace kitchen equipped with the necessary appliances for heating or cooking food using ovens and stovetops, moving away from reliance on microwaves.
Shared Responsibilities: If you live with others, consider sharing kitchen responsibilities. This could involve taking turns to cook or assisting with meal preparation.
These strategies can help employees strike a balance between their work commitments and maintaining a healthy diet, ensuring they have the energy to enjoy their evenings and engage in social and physical activities.
Sedentary Lifestyle and Physical Activity
As mentioned previously, digitisation has led to a lack of physical movement, whether it's from a phone call, a Zoom meeting with a colleague, or the fact that meetings have become less frequent. It's at the end of the day that we often ponder, "Did I move from this chair at any point?"
The World Health Organization states that "Regular physical activity, such as walking, cycling, wheeling, participating in sports, or engaging in active recreation, offers substantial health benefits. Some physical activity is better than none." Currently:
More than a quarter of the global adult population (1.4 billion adults) isn't getting enough physical activity.
Worldwide, approximately 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men don't engage in sufficient physical activity to maintain good health.
This underscores the importance of companies understanding the significance of promoting physical activity in the workplace, such as incorporating stretching breaks or short walks during the day. Additionally, providing adjustable desks so that employees can alternate between sitting and standing is crucial.
Sedentary Lifestyle and Mental Health
Virtual communication leads to a situation where we are connected yet not entirely so. Does it feel the same to discuss work with someone in a chat as it does in person? Most of the time, the sense of reality, of having a person right next to you, gets lost. This is how the lack of face-to-face communication can adversely affect work relationships and collaboration among employees.
Simultaneously, a lack of physical movement and prolonged screen exposure can contribute to mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and mental fatigue, all of which negatively impact motivation and job satisfaction.
In this way, sedentary behavior leads to a sense of boredom among individuals who don't feel at ease with themselves and are immersed in a lack of communication.
Promote mindfulness and meditation practices in the workplace to help employees reduce stress. Encourage employees to take regular breaks to disconnect from screens and recharge.
It's important to create spaces where individuals can spend time outdoors, such as parks with tables where they can gather for meetings and step out of the usual conference room.
Engaging in team-building activities outside the workplace fosters a sense of community that increases employees' desire to come together, work, and discuss their lives. This, in turn, boosts motivation.
In conclusion, breaking out of this comfort zone that breeds discomfort is of utmost importance. Here, you'll find small tips that resonate with sedentary habits and offer fresh ideas for living a healthier lifestyle.
Sometimes, these three variables aren't all equally affected. Which one do you consider the most important to change in your life to establish a healthier routine?
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