How to Win The War on Health in the Workplace

Work Is Murder
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OK, so that may be just a tad bit exaggerated and not exactly an objective argument either (among other flaws). And the meat cleaver. Really? Was that necessary?

Anyways, whether or not the above information is accurate, and whether or not the sources are credible, I do not know. But what I do know is that even if the above statistics aren’t 100% accurate, they’re not all that far off from the reality many people face every single day. It might not be quite as bad as they make it out to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s good either. And it doesn’t take a genius to understand that we have some pretty hefty problems facing the health of our workforce today – and not just physical health either.

We have on our hands, what some may call a situation; a situation that requires attention – and fast! So, what should we do – have everyone quit their health-harming, high-stress, sedentary, germ-infested jobs? Well, I’m no economist, but I don’t think that would be such a good idea for society at large. Fortunately, the good folks at who supplied us with this handy-dandy infographic have offered us not one, but FOUR novel solutions to remedy this problem.

So, let’s see here: “Stand and Stretch a Few Times a Day” – OK, that’s helpful. Standing up is a good start, after all. And I see that they also recommend walking, too. Again, great job with that.

Moving on to, “Stay Active After Work.” Yet, again, great advice, but where is the really good stuff? You know, the helpful information.

Well, after scanning the last two suggestions, all I can say is that it’s not necessarily bad advice, but it’s not exactly good advice either. In fact, this is the usual middle-ground, bland advice that is practically useless and typical from most media sources that report on research pertaining to health and fitness. It’s all too common for them to barrage us with all kinds of frightening facts, figures, and statistics, only to offer us no real, concrete solutions. I guess we’re doomed after all.

I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt though. Maybe they just ran out of room on their infographic and had to condense their suggestions down to the top 4. Riiiiiiight.

Anyways, for those of us who actually deal with these issues on a daily basis and are looking for a solution, here is mine:

Get as active as you can every single day, and do everything in your power to get off your butt as frequently as possible. Seriously, that’s about sums it up. I could go on, and list all the obvious solutions like taking the stairs, parking further away, sitting on an exercise ball, taking stretch breaks, walking around more, etc. But I think you’re probably smart enough to figure those out for yourself, and honestly, you can only get so far with novel solutions like that. So, let’s not kid ourselves. We have a fundamental problem of unhealthy working conditions, and it’s going to take a lot more than a few quick-fix exercise hacks.

The reality is that if you want to avoid the negative health consequences of the typical, high-stress, sedentary work day, then you need to avoid the health-harming situation entirely. That’s just a nice way of saying you need to get out of that environment – out of that job or even career path. I know that may not be easy to swallow, but as far as I can tell, it’s the truth. The only other alternatives that I can think of involve taking charge of your own career and sailing into uncharted territory. That’s what I had to do. So, maybe I’m biased or at least narrow-minded. One idea is to look into telecommuting, so that you have more control over your daily schedule. But whatever the best solution is for you, it will require a radical departure from conventional thinking (and living). You won’t get it handed to you on a silver platter.

The bottom line is that you won’t experience a high standard of health and fitness unless you radically depart from the norm. The honest-to-goodness truth is that if you work a “normal” job, you’re going to live a normal life, which won’t exactly be optimal health-wise (have you seen “normal” health statistics?). Something that nobody really likes to admit, and I don’t like telling people, is that your career will, to a large extent, influence your lifespan, and more importantly, your quality of life. It’s a simple truth that you and I may not live as long because of our jobs. Some people are ok with that, but if you’re not, then there’s still time to make a change!

But here’s the thing: most people don’t think of their health when selecting a career. The thought doesn’t even cross their minds. They tend to think about money, time commitment, vacation time, retirement options, and opportunities for advancement, etc. Health doesn’t even enter the equation most of the time, but it must! This is why I think it’s of paramount importance for a major health paradigm to change – and soon. And the good news is that you can make that change all by yourself.

Ultimately, your health is determined by the priorities you’ve set for yourself. Since you’re reading this article, I’m guessing that your health and fitness is fairly important to you. This is a perfectly normal inclination for humans. So, it’s time to start thinking outside the box. There never really was a box anyways. It’s an illusion. In the end, my advice to you is to identify and reevaluate your true priorities by summing up your core values (write them down!), sitting down and thinking about the vision you have for your life, setting some goals to bring that vision into reality, and then acting on it. It’s certainly not the easy way, but it is the only way and it’s always worth it – and that’s the truth.

More information:

How Sitting is Killing You and What to do About It – This “Work is Murder” infographic has me hearkening back to another one I posted about not too long ago. You’ll probably remember the advice from that one was just about as helpful as this one. It takes a radical departure from conventional thinking, folks!

Too Much Sitting = Too Bad For Your Health – More doom and gloom about the serious health consequences of excessive sitting, plus my personal battle plan against inactivity.

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One Response

  1. Melissa Ramos

    Excellent information. I also get frustrated with the lack of coherent solutions for bettering the general public’s health. People are too quick to brush optimal wellness aside in pursuit of material wealth. I’m glad I came across this!

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