Do you have cake for colleagues’ birthdays? Vending machines in your break room? Cookies at staff meetings? Did you know that between one-third and one-half of Americans working today are in jobs where they are sitting for most of the day? With unhealthy foods and lack of activity, your workplace may be an unexpected obstacle to your health and fitness.
When I started teaching at Rutgers University in 1995 there were three options for lunch within a 5-minute walk from my office on campus: Pizza Hut, Dunkin’ Donuts, and a vending machine. To compensate for my pizza and doughnut diet in those early years, I started working-out at the gym on campus. My workplace gym ritual didn’t last long. All too frequently (usually at the very moment I was struggling under an embarrassingly-light bench press), a student from one of my classes would say “hey professor — is that you?” with a smirk. The day I heard “hey Prof, do you need a spot?” marked the end of my workplace work-outs.
What are your challenges to healthy behaviors at work?
Nationwide Better Health, a subsidiary of Nationwide, conducted a survey of American workers on their workplace eating habits and physical activity. Their study revealed that 72% report eating an unhealthy snack more than once per week at work (13% snacking on unhealthy food at work 5 or more times each week). Only 42% of those surveyed reported that their company offered healthy food options. (I am happy to report that my workplace did add a deli with healthy food options next to the pizza and doughnuts.)
Are you searching for ways to improve your workplace eating habits and level of physical activity? If you would like to read more about the steps you can take toward better health and fitness at work, I’d recommend reading the two-page article from Nationwide Better Health Survey entitled “Source or solution?: The workplace’s role in an unhealthy lifestyle”.