How to stay healthy and active at work

Lifestyle2 min read

Top tips to avoid falling off the wagon in the workplace

Mediterranean people have long known a secret about what it takes to live a full, healthy life – it’s all about balance. This simply means combining a healthy diet with an easy active lifestyle – but with busy days in the office and work commitments keeping us under the pump, sometimes it can seem like our health and wellbeing takes a back seat to other priorities.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to. Here are a few key tips on how you can adopt a heart-healthy Mediterranean lifestyle – even if you have to work behind a desk all day.

Active at work SI

Eating for health

Studies show that following a Mediterranean diet may not only reduce your risk of heart disease, but may also reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety – a powerful factor to consider when the stresses of work may be getting us down. The diet of those living in the Mediterranean includes components from some of the main food groups, here’s a quick guide for those interested in it:

  1. Include plenty of fresh, plant-based foods in your daily diet. This means fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
  2. Ditch butter and margarine and replace with heart-healthy olive oil.
  3. Instead of loading meals with salt, ramp up your favourite recipes flavoured with herbs and spices.
  4. Enjoy lean, red meat in moderation.
  5. Include fresh fish and poultry in your weekly diet.
  6. Only drink in moderation, if at all. That means the equivalent of a glass of red wine a day for women of all ages and men over 65, and up to two drinks a day for men aged 65 and younger.

Tips for eating ‘Mediterranean’ at work

With our hectic work schedules, it often seems easier to pop out for a takeaway meal during our lunchbreaks. If you really want to reap the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, the key is to take a little bit of time out to prep ahead and make healthy, wholesome lunches at home:

  • Do a big shop on Sunday for all the fresh foods you will need for the week ahead.
  • Optimise your time by following these handy tips for creating a weekly lunch plan.
  • Portion out five lots of fresh fruit and nuts to snack on for morning and afternoon tea.
  • Save time and money by turning your dinner leftovers into healthy lunches – here’s how.

Active for life

You won’t necessarily find Mediterraneans slogging it out at the gym every day, so how is it that they manage to maintain a healthy weight and live long into old age? It’s simple – they incorporate physical activity into their everyday lives.

However, when office jobs require us to sit behind a desk for eight hours a day, staying active can prove quite a challenge – but not if you think outside the box! A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that for better health and productivity, desk-based workers should aim to accumulate at least two hours of standing and light activity into their typical work day. So let’s think like a Mediterranean and look at ways we can be active at work:

  • If you drive to work, park your car a few blocks away from your office and walk.
  • If you take the bus or train, get off a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way.
  • Instead of getting a lift to the train station, why not ride a bike?
  • Always take the stairs instead of the lift (even if it’s just part of the way).
  • Ensure you take your lunchbreak – walk to the nearest park or take a stroll around the block.
  • Rise earlier in the morning and do 30 minutes of physical activity you enjoy – this could be a run around the park or yoga. Getting your blood flowing is an invigorating way to start the day!
  • Get a team game or workout boot camp going with your workmates on lunchbreaks.

So bring a slice of the Mediterranean into your everyday work environment by following these tips on how to eat well and stay active the Mediterranean way. Your mind, body and heart will thank you for it!


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