What Are You Doing From 9-5?
Written by Libby Landry
I’m sure for most of you reading this, the answer to the blog title is, “I’m at work…duh.” And that’s just the answer we wanted to hear. It’s where we spend majority of our waking hours each day, but sadly, the modern workplace frequently contributes to negatively impacting our health. Desk jobs lead to physical inactivity, stress that results in lack of sleep and poor dietary choices, and the rise in prevalence of chronic disease.
We look at everything that happens at work as an integrated experience that impacts daily life in and outside of the workplace, including your physical, emotional, mental, and professional well-being. We can’t reasonably expect to push our health markers (significantly) along the Wellness Continuum without changing the environments, patterns, and habits that occupy more than 50% of our time.
Think about it: you can’t outdo sitting for 8 hours, taking no breaks, and eating a #saddesklunch all hunched over your computer with one hour of exercise each day. And, ever walked into the gym for Back Squat Day after you’ve been sitting at your computer and those hips are feeling less than mobile? You’re like, “Coach, I’m gonna need at least 40 minutes for the warm-up today.” Not good! So, it begs the question…what are you doing from 9-5?
We’ve outlined 4 easy ways that we can improve our health and wellness during the workday.
1. The 30/2 Rule. The first rule of thumb comes from Dr. Kelly Starrett’s book Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World and suggests that we simply “sit less, stand more” with the 30/2 rule. For every 30 minutes that you spend sitting down at work, stand up for 2 minutes. Easy enough, yes? Set a timer (a silent-ish one, please!) to remind yourself to get up and move. These drills may help!
2. Pack some desk snacks. The CrossFit community, by and large, is likely less guilty of this, but we all fall victim to it. The donuts from the staff meeting are calling your name or you’ve hit that dreaded 2pm slump and need a pick-me-up. Having snacks on hand that give you a blend of the three macronutrients will give you that needed energy boost without the subsequent sugar crash. We like beef jerky, a green apple and nut butter, or a high quality protein bar.
3. Take a break! Short breaks during the day can boost mental acuity, energy, focus, and keep your muscles from “turning off” so to speak. Not all breaks are created equal, though. One key component to an effective break is psychological detachment which means you mentally disengage from work thoughts and focus on something positive. So, walking to the kitchen for another cup of coffee and venting about your annoying client doesn’t count. Go for a walk and listen to 10 minutes of a podcast, set a new goal for the gym, or watch YouTube videos of a skill you’d like to learn.
4. Meditate (or just do some breath work). Spending a few minutes during the day meditating can reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone) which can have significant impacts on our overall health. If this sounds impossible or unreasonable for you, work on diaphragmatic breathing. This can easily be done at your desk and aids in relaxation. Bonus points because this type of breathing helps your athletic performance by sending more oxygen to the muscles, improving muscular endurance.
These are just 4 simple strategies that we’ve had success with. But, you’re only limited by your creativity. Find new ways to move more, eat better, and reduce stress throughout the workday and we’d bet you’ll see some gains in the gym, too. Let us know what you do!
If you want to learn more about Corporate Wellness for yourself or your organization, please email [email protected] for more information!
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