Essential Ways to Stay Healthy at Work

Our surroundings have a direct link to our lives. Since most of us spend forty or more hours at our jobs weekly, it is crucial to our health and longevity that our place of work is conducive to wellness. These are just a few ways to infuse health and positive energy into your workplace.


The energy-efficient standards of today require that modern office buildings be kept tightly sealed to avoid temperature variations. This is one of the major contributions to the condition called "sick building syndrome," an ambiguous illness that affects the occupants. Carpeting, furniture, cleaning products, dry cleaning, insecticides, printers, and other products can give off unhealthy fumes, which trigger responses from the immune system that over time dull its effectiveness. And indoor air pollutants, such as the volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) emitted by electronic devices aggravate allergies and fatigue.

What to do? This is where Mother Nature's air purifiers come in: plants produce oxygen and eliminate VOCs at the same time. The most effective plants include indoor palms, English ivy, ficuses, peace lilies, and chrysanthemums. Circulate fresh air through your office by opening the windows at the times of day when the outdoor air is the cleanest: early in the morning and late in the evening.


Who isn't familiar with the on-the-job afternoon lull, bringing with it low energy and listlessness? Instead of combating the lull with caffeine--a tactic that creates the illusion of efficiency and alertness, but actually "borrows" energy from your life force that you didn't have in the first place--try some of these healthy pick-me-ups:

* Take frequent breaks from sitting. The key to staying alert and awake on the job is to keep moving. Instead of using the phone to get what you need, use your legs! Find ways to keep moving all day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car a few blocks away from where you're going.

* Take a field trip for lunch. If it's a nice day outside, have a picnic in a park or just take a walk around the block. The fresh air and the break from routine will be an invigorating addition to your workday.

* Make sure you are sitting up straight. Slouching not only makes you look older than you are, it also leads to a huge drop in energy by decreasing your oxygen intake. When you compress the diaphragm and ribs, full respiration cannot take place and the blood flow is slowed to your brain and extremities. Additionally, poor posture also affects your mood and contributes to chronic back and neck pains. The Chinese remedy for poor posture is to pull your chin inward and pretend there is a string pulling straight upward from the top of your head.

* Take a time-out. If you only have 5 minutes to spare, just close your eyes. Even a brief rest can reduce stress and help you relax, which can give you the increase in energy you need to complete your tasks of the day.

These tips will have you working with renewed enthusiasm, energy, and health!

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
1/9/2008 10:37:45 AM
Dr. Maoshing Ni
Written by Dr. Maoshing Ni
I am a 38th-generation doctor of Chinese medicine and an authority in anti-aging medicine. I became determined to pursue health and healing after an accidental fall from the rooftop of our three-story house when I was six years old. My father, a renowned physician of Chinese medicine and Taoist master, rehabilitated me a...
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Posted by bocha
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Posted by rhinolink
I saw a show on HGTV HD the other night about green design (called RED, HOT and GREEN) and they talked about plants being natural air purifiers. I need to get some plants for my house.
Posted by Dr. McDreamy
Thanks for the great ideas!
Posted by Rachel
I like the idea about the plants.
Posted by Charlotte
I like the idea about the plants.
Posted by Charlotte
Dr. Maoshing, those are great suggestions. I like that instead of recommending some kind of expensive or potentially harmful air filter for air quality, you recommended something so much simpler: plants. Those filters cost like $300, so I could buy 10-15 plants for that amount of money! :-) How many plants does it take to make a difference in an average sized office? Do plants help with pollutants that gather inside as well?
Posted by ewilson
Hey Doc, thanks for the reminder. I'm going to attempt to incorporate all of these suggestions into my day!
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