5 Health Mistakes You’re Probably Making at Work

Man at work holding fast food and staring into coffee cup

The average American spends around 90,000 hours at work, according to Business Insider. And for many people, a large portion of those hours are spend engaging in unhealthy habits that can have serious consequences to their overall health, well-being, productivity, and happiness levels.

A new year is the perfect opportunity to examine some of the bad habits you may have formed at work and resolve yourself to adopting a healthier, more balanced daily routine.

Here’s are 5 of the most common health mistakes that you’re probably already making at work:

Not drinking enough water

How much water any given individual needs in one day is not an exact science, but many people may be surprised to find they’re in a constant state of dehydration. Some health conditions or diseases make drinking too much water a danger, while other people with high activity levels or in certain climates may need a bit more than average. In general, 4 to 6 cups of water is appropriate for a healthy adult. A few of the most common warning signs of dehydration include weakness, low blood pressure, dizziness, confusion, or unusually dark urine.

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Sitting for long periods of time

The dangers of being sedentary have made headlines for years, for good reason. Most employees who work in an office environment or at a desk spend on average a whopping 10 hours per day sitting down (and probably staring at a computer screen). The Washington Post famously published a widely-shared infographic that listed all of the negatives effects sitting too long can have on the body and the mind, including organ damage, muscle degeneration, decreased mental ability, back problems, and poor circulation. If you find yourself sitting at your desk for hours at a time, make a point to get moving, even for short breaks. Setting daily calendar alerts for yourself to stand up, stretch, or take a walk can be a great way to remind yourself to move, especially if keep forgetting to move around regularly.

Eating junk food

Trying to maintain a healthy diet can be one of the most difficult health-related efforts to keep up in the workplace. In many offices or work environments, sugary or highly processed foods are the norm, especially for special occasions. It may take a little more planning and effort on your part each week, but packing your own lunch every day or supplying your own healthy snacks so that you can avoid the morning donut pile or the afternoon vending machine run will go a long way to keeping you healthy.

Poor posture

Sitting at a desk for many hours per day naturally lends itself to poor posture, and according to Spine Health, it can become so a part of your day that it’s like second-nature. To avoid poor posture while seated, they suggest to “sit up straight and align the ears, shoulders, and hips in one vertical line.” Sitting in well-designed chairs or exercise balls can help significantly with posture, but they also recommend avoiding crossed legs, leaning to one side, hunching your shoulders, or tilting your head while sitting. And, of course, regular movement – even short walks around your office – can help to maintain good posture by helping you to change positions frequently.

Not going outside

It’s easy to become so focused on your workload that you lose track of time and forget to venture outside a few times a day. But prolonged periods of time indoors can, over time, have negative cumulative health effects, such as decreased vitamin D levels, poor sleep, higher stress, or even depression. Even if it’s just once a day for a few minutes, prioritize “outside” time and make it a part of your workplace routine in 2019 for improved health and well-being.

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