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By Paul Garcia, D.C.
Workplace environments often present unique challenges to staying healthy. Many of my clients are completely unaware that their environment at work is a contributing factor to their pain, fatigue, mood-swings, weight gain and digestive complaints. With so much chronic disease nowadays, we need to have strategies for staying as healthy as possible. Here are some workplace hacks that you can implement to make your work environment more conducive to optimal health.
- Supplement with vitamin D
One of the most important things you’re missing if you work inside is sunlight. Without adequate sunlight everyday you won’t be able to make enough vitamin D to keep you healthy. Vitamin D deficiencies are extremely common and can result in increased back pain, more colds and flus, higher risk of diabetes and even cancer. If you aren’t able to spend 20-30 minutes per day in direct sunlight then you must get your vitamin D from food or from supplements. Good sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, butter from grass-fed cows, and egg yolks. The best source to supplement with is vitamin D3 at 1,000-3,000IU/day depending on your blood levels. Your vitamin D should be between 39-70 ng/ML.
- Move around
Most Americans sit between 8-12 hours each day. That means that nearly half of one’s entire working years could be spent sitting down. When you sit too much you are more likely to experience back pain, to acquire hypertension and high cholesterol, to gain more belly fat, and to be at greater risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, sitting has been called the new smoking because studies show a strong connection between the time you spend sitting and your risk of having a heart attack. Instead, move around the office as much as you can. Set a timer to remind you to get up every 20 minutes. Get outside and take a walk on your lunch break. Consider using a standing desk. Use every opportunity to move your body.
- Cut out the snacks
Snacks are everywhere in offices! Snacking frequently during the day can lead to elevated levels of our hunger hormones insulin and ghrelin. When these hormones get too high, the result is insulin resistance (pre-diabetes), constant hunger and the inability to lose weight. Instead of visiting the vending machine, try having a cup of green tea or bone broth. This will boost your energy and focus without the unwanted rise in hunger hormones. Also consider intermittent fasting. This involves eating your food each day in a 7-8-hour window and fasting for the remaining 16-17 hours. Intermittent fasting can have dramatic affects on decreasing hunger, improving energy and concentration and increasing the anti-aging hormone known as human growth hormone (HGH).
- Get good sleep
Waking up refreshed and strong in the morning will help prevent binging on the wrong foods and increase your productivity while you’re at work. Your body requires 7-8 hours of restful sleep each night to be at its best. If you get less, this will increase your stress hormone know as cortisol. Prolonged spikes in cortisol can result in insomnia, weight gain, poor immune function, fatigue, hormone imbalance and irritability. To promote good sleep patterns, try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, don’t over caffeinate and stop eating at least three hours before falling asleep.
- Fill your office with plants
Another strategy to promote health while at the office is to bring living plants into your space. Indoor plants have several documented therapeutic benefits, according to a study published in Sage Journal. The first is their ability to absorb airborne toxins. Most people don’t realize it, but offices often contain numerous toxins that can cause issues with your health. Common office items like carpet, paint, insulation and cleaners emit a number of compounds that you probably don’t want to be inhaling. Several studies have found that indoor plants do an excellent job of removing compounds such as benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, and other potentially harmful gases from the air. The top air-purifying plants include English ivy, spider plants and peace lilies, all of which can live well indoors.
Also, studies by HortScience have shown that bringing plants into your office, home or classroom can promote relaxation, improve mental and physical well-being, improved behavior and increase overall happiness. Clearly, a simple indoor plant can do wonders for your health. They’re not very expensive, they’re attractive to look at and easy to maintain, and they don’t have to take up much space.
At Pacific Coast Kinesiology Center, we believe staying healthy is a choice. The choices you make, whether conscious or unconscious, can have a significant impact on your health, moving you closer toward optimal health or farther away. These workplace wellness hacks are simple yet effective strategies for moving your health in the right direction.
Paul Garcia, D.C., is a licensed and board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, Applied Kinesiologist and Functional Medicine practitioner. Dr. Garcia earned his doctorate from the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic where he graduated with the distinction of magna cum laude in 1999. For the past 15 years, Dr. Garcia has been practicing alternative medicine, studying and researching the latest advancements in his field, and teaching his patients and community about the importance and relevance of taking a holistic approach to healthcare.
Pacific Coast Kinesiology Center, 30270 Rancho Viejo Rd., Ste. E, San Juan Capistrano. 949.716.3930. www.drpaulgarciadc.com.
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