By: Kelly Atyeo, B.A.Sc., M.H.Sc., P.H.Ec.
October is Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month and a time for Canadians to think about not only working hard for their money…but also working hard for their health!
Physical Health & Mental Health
Did you know the age of retirement is getting further away from 60 years old? There’s been a shift in our population, whereby people are working past the age of 64.1 This means keeping your body in good shape is crucial to allow you to work into your late adulthood. It also means having a positive work environment to help you feel good about your job and motivated to continue working!
Ergonomics – The way you work
Because we spend so much of our day working, simple tasks that may seem relatively easy (i.e. typing on a computer, using a phone) can often lead to muscle and joint pain from repetition and/or overuse. This is where ergonomics – the study of how a person interacts with their workspace – comes into play.2 If you work in a job where you feel any muscle pain after working – consider the following:
- How is your posture?
- If you’re sitting, is your chair adjusted properly to be the correct height?
- Are you taking appropriate rest breaks?
- Is the lighting in your workspace bright enough?
- Are the items you work with easy to reach (phones/computer etc.)?
The workplace can be the perfect place to incorporate physical activity into your routine. If you work with a group of people – you can make physical activity social!
- Go for a walk or jog with a colleague on your lunch break
- Do a spin class or yoga at a gym close to your office
- Get a group together to do boot camps before or after work
- Enter a charity run or bike ride with your office – motivate each other to work towards your fitness goals!
Physical activity keeps your fitness level up to prevent diseases and injury, keeps you alert and can help reduce stress when incorporated into your daily routine. 3,4,5 Even moderate levels of physically active may help you be more focused and productive at work!5
Healthy Eating – Eat before a meeting!
There are many reasons to eat healthy, including disease prevention, weight management, balancing your energy levels and to help moderate stress.
You need to eat nutritious meals throughout the day to provide your body and brain with fuel to work. 3,4 If you don’t get a balanced diet, this can lead to low blood sugar, which can make you tired, jittery, and moody.3
Make healthy eating at work fun. Along with co-workers, challenge each other to make healthy lunches for 4 out of the 5 days of the week. Try different healthy recipe ideas and discuss all the amazing nutrients you’re getting that will fuel your body and mind all day long!
Here are a few wonderful chicken wrap recipes to start…you can even make them for dinner the night before and take leftovers for work the next day! These are simple to make and very portable, so they are easy to fit into your schedule.
Social Time – Work Life Balance
You need to feel refreshed when you go to work – and that means making time for the other extremely important things in your life like family, friends and your favourite hobbies. Unfortunately, in Canada, 58% of people report feeling “overload” in their various roles and activities both outside and inside the home.6
Prioritize the things that are important for you to take part in both your work and in your social life. Part of having a well-balanced life is to ensure you make time for yourself and with the people you love, participating in activities that you enjoy!
This initiative spreads awareness of what can be done in the workplace to improve the health and wellness of employees and the overall success of organizations.
Visit the following website to see how you can help support a healthy work environment yourself and your colleagues!
Statistics Canada. (2008). Some facts about the demographics and ethnocultural composition of the population. Ottawa: ON: Minister of Industry. Retrieved September 2, 2014, from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/91-003-x/2007001/4129904-eng.htm
Ergonomics & Human Factors. (2014). What is Ergonomics? Retrieved September 2, 2014, from http://www.ergonomics.org.uk/learning/what-ergonomics/
HelpGuide.org. (2014). Stress at Work. Retrieved September 2, 2014, from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/work_stress_management.htm
UCLA Health. (2014). How nutrition & exercise can increase productivity and lower health care costs. Retrieved September 2, 2014, from http://www.uclahealth.org/body.cfm?id=502&action=detail&ref=134
Pozen, R. (2012). Exercise increases productivity. Retrieved September 2, 2014, from http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2012/10/24-exercise-productivity-pozen
Canadian Mental Health Association. (2014). Work Life Balance: Make it Your Business. Retrieved September 2, 2014, from http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/work-life-balance-make-it-your-business/#.VASXwyixr-A
Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month. (2014). About Us. Retrieved September 2, 2014, from http://healthyworkplacemonth.ca/en/about/about