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Staying healthy at work


Many of our waking hours are spent at work, meaning the workplace environment can play a big part in our health and wellbeing. Did you know around 131 million working days were lost through absences due to sickness or injury in 2013?

To stay healthy and avoid work-related illnesses, a number of steps and recommendations can be taken as Sara Wood, occupational health & wellbeing services manager at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, explains: “If you are feeling stressed or have any work-related illnesses, the first step to take is to find out the cause. Turning to something unhealthy to help you cope with stress such as smoking or drinking, is not the right solution.

“Eat healthily and drink water: Instead of that mid-morning snack of chocolate or crisps, have fresh and dried fruit or nuts as they are long-lasting sources of energy. If you don’t drink enough water, you’ll feel sleepy and be less able to concentrate.

“Stress and work-related illnesses can be prevented and staying active in the workplace can have a positive effect on your wellbeing.  If you are sitting at a desk all day, take regular breaks once an hour. Get up, move around and stretch your legs. A few deep breaths and stretches will help boost your circulation.

“Try to include a bit of exercise into your working day.  You might want to try doing one or more of the following:

  • If you get the bus to work, get off one bus stop before your final stop and walk the remainder of your journey.
  • Rather than using the phone to speak to one of your colleagues, walk over to their desk.
  • Use your lunch break to exercise. Go to the gym or go for a walk. Improving your general fitness will bring benefits for your posture and help to prevent injury.
  • Why not give the lift a miss and take the stairs.

“Whilst you are at your desk, having the right posture and correct workstation requirements for your needs is essential if most of your time is spent sitting in front of a computer. Incorrect posture can be a contributory factor in back pain and can exacerbate existing conditions.

“During breaks and holidays, it is also important to completely switch off and switch the work phone off and stay away from checking emails.”

Being able to deal with your time effectively and prioritising your workload, is one way of helping you deal with stress. The way you deal with stress can have a profound effect on your mood, behaviour and ability to cope and function effectively.

The Live Well Work Well website ( has more information and tips about staying fit and healthy at work.

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