We all know that exercise leads to better health, but did you know that you could increase your health and wellness while sitting at your desk? From drinking more water to thinking good thoughts, I share some of my favorite health tips to increase overall vitality.
1) Drink more water
This is one of my favorite tips and one of the easiest things to do. Dehydration can exacerbate mental fatigue, and not getting enough of this precious physical resource will make you more tired and worn out than you should be. This causes a drop in your metabolism and your body adapts by increasing fat mass to cope with lowered energy. By increasing your water intake, you allow your body to work more efficiently. Water hydrates the brain, which helps to increase focus and boost mental output. Additional water intake allows the body to detoxify itself from the impurities that it accumulates from the food you eat and the air you breathe. Many toxins are made by the body itself, like lactic acid from physical activity. I get to sneak in a few quick mental breaks and increase blood flow through regular walks to the bathroom because of my water intake during work. Who says that you can’t detox and get a few extra steps in while earning an income?
Tired of drinking plain water all the time? Adding lemon juice to water has a variety of benefits of its own.
2) Chomp on healthy foods
Fresh fruit and vegetables are so good for you. They provide precious vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to survive. They also provide the fiber that we need to encourage healthy digestion and regular bowel movement. The natural sugars found in fruit and veg will also help you to concentrate better at what you need to do during work.
Personally, I don’t particularly enjoy the taste of fruit and veg. I eat them because I know how much my body needs them. Since I don’t enjoy them, I choose to eat them when I am focused on something else, like while I am working on my computer. Since my focus is diverted, I don’t take note of whether I am enjoying the food that I am eating. Eating the good food that you don’t enjoy during work is a great way to get your best nutrients in while doing whatever pays the bills.
3) Swap out coffee for green tea
Green tea has so many benefits. It contains the caffeine that you might need to wake you up and keep you focused, but not so much that you feel jittery or struggle to relax during the day. Too much caffeine can cause stress, anxiety and a feeling of frustration or anger during work. Green tea has considerably less caffeine than coffee. This gives you the energy benefit without the negative side effects. Additionally, green tea contains EGCG. EGCG is the most abundant catechin in green tea and has many benefits of its own; like boosting metabolism and burning fat. It is a common ingredient on many weight loss pills for this very reason. Green tea also contains the amino acid theanine. This amino acid has a calming effect on the brain, which decreases its negative response to stressful situations.
4) Think positive
Besides feeling better during work, thinking positive has many physical health benefits. Dopamine, the happy hormone, is released when we feel good about something. Dopamine release during sugar consumption is what makes us want to eat sweet things like candy bars and drink soda. Dopamine also increases focus and prolongs overall attention to detail. This is why we can watch a good TV show for hours, but struggle to focus during much shorter office meetings. By choosing to think positively about your work environment, you can increase mental activity, reduce overall stress and stay focused for longer before you need a break.
Another feel good hormone, serotonin, is released when we experience positive social connections with other people. This hormone has a range of health benefits of its own. One of these benefits is increased physical recovery. A study showed that serotonin increased cell regeneration and healing from wounds. By thinking positively and interacting with people in a more positive manner, you can increase your natural serotonin levels and therefore reap its physical benefits.
A ‘fake-it-till-you-make-it’ approach is really effective at increasing overall positivity. I tried this approach myself. Whenever I did an activity that I did not enjoy, I told myself that I really love it and that I am having such a great time. At first, I knew that I was lying to myself and felt silly for making false claims. Through consistency and repetition, I started to believe it and I was able to increase my proficiency at this task while decreasing the need to rest afterwards. Since the activity that I had to do was almost every day, it took just over a week for me to see considerable results. Try it for a week and let me know if it works!
5) Go easy on the air conditioning
In this post that examines the connection between body heat and metabolism, we can see that our metabolisms are stimulated when our bodies are too cold or too hot. It takes energy for the body to warm up or cool down. Since our bodies learn to adjust to constant temperature changes, they learn to become more resilient. This increases immunity and makes us less susceptible to other physical challenges. That is why cold showers increase the muscle building hormone testosterone in men (among other benefits). By foregoing the aircon, you allow your body time to learn to cope with certain changes on its own. Hot environments induce sweat, which is actually very good for you. Cold temperatures force our bodies to burn extra calories to stay warm.
As you most probably have already heard before, air conditioning has a range of side effects that aren’t very good for you. They can dry out airways, which can increase the amount of times that you get sick in the average year.
Do you have any other tips? Are you going to give any of these a try? What are your biggest health challenges at work? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.
As always, feel free to like, comment, reblog, link to or share this post. Happy working!