Healthy balance

Make sure that if you work long hours you also have a healthy balance with diet, exercise and rest periods, or you face lowered productivity levels.

According to International Labour Organization, poor diet on the job is costing countries around the world up to 20% in lost productivity, either due to malnutrition or the excess weight and obesity.

According to Dr Anél Terblanche, medical officer at Samwumed Medical Scheme, these statistics highlight the important role that good nutrition plays in boosting energy levels at work. “By having a healthy and balanced diet, workers are also able to maintain healthier weights, have improved concentration at work, as well as an improved immune system to fight off any illness that could result in work downtime,” said Terblanche. She provides some tips on how workers can maintain good nutrition to increase their productivity at work:   Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables are important giving your body the nutrition that it needs. Fruits and vegetables contain a number of vitamins and minerals needed by the body to help repair damaged cells and boost the immune system. It is important to consume at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. The 5 portions can be split between meals, or be used as a snack in-between the major meals in the day. Don’t skip any meals It is important that you do not skip any meals of the day. This includes making sure that you have breakfast, lunch and dinner. You may be in a rush to get to work in the morning, but eating breakfast, even if it is a fruit is important for your body. The food that you consume is converted into energy by your body and without the necessary kick-start in the morning, it will take your body longer to get started in the day. Plan your lunch weekly According to the Harvard Business Review, food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance. This means that what choose to eat during our lunch breaks at work has a high impact on how you will feel for the rest of the afternoon. Most of the time people settle for buying fast foods like hot chips, burgers and pizzas because they don’t plan their meals in advance – and in doing so, has a massive impact on the body’s energy levels due to its high GI content.

Having a lunch planner at the start of each week helps you to be disciplined. Where possible, and time permitting, try and prepare as many meals in advance as you can. These can be stored in the freezer and taken out each morning that they are needed.

Drink plenty of fluids The idea of drinking plenty of fluids shouldn’t be limited to when you are sick. Dehydration is very common in the workplace, especially when working long hours. It is important that you drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, which may cause lack of concentration and productivity.

A person should drink at least six glasses of water each day to avoid dehydration. Some people prefer carrying a bottle around to remember to drink the water while on their way to work, while at work and when going home. Don’t forget to exercise While it is crucial to have a balanced and healthy diet. It is equally important to ensure that you don’t forget to include exercise in your daily regime. Exercising plays a vital role in having a health body and maintaining a healthy weight.

Many people need motivation and end goal in order to start exercising, with some feeling more motivated doing it with a friend, colleague or someone who has the same goal and target in mind. So, if you struggle to get into the groove of exercising, try and start a jogging club at work or with friend that may be interested in joining you.

“With a demanding job, it may be very hard to maintain a good lifestyle for yourself as you are always tired. It is however important to remember that building a good and healthy lifestyle will help with you being more productive in the work place,” said Terblanche.