Staying Healthy in the Stacks

by Amelia Zavala Vander Heide ,Senior Editor, INALJ Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virtual Work

Staying Healthy in the Stacks

amelia_vanderheideWhen I first started working as a professional librarian a little over a year ago, I went from working at a job where I was on my feet 6-12 hours a day to a job where I was on my feet half that time. I am not a very active person by nature, and as such, I have really had to learn and adapt to a new work environment. While I wish that all libraries could afford walking desks, alas, that is a pipe dream. So whether you’re already working or still on the look out behind a desk, these are tips to try to help you stay healthy and motivated.

Don’t Forget to Move

The days are now shorter, the nights are longer, and it can sometimes be a daunting task to get in physical activity each day. As librarians, we do tend to get and move during the day, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. The American Heart Association recommends moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, or vigorous activity 25 minutes a day, 3 days a week, to make sure that you are staying healthy. With winter already here, it might appear difficult to get that in, but try some floor exercises or short workout videos. Plus, exercise can help you sleep better and reduce stress.

Invest in a Fitness Band

I have a Fitbit, but there are so many choices that you can pick a device that best fits your lifestyle. If you’re not familiar with fitness bands and step counters, they are small devices that help you keep active. The devices are usually programmed with the goal of 10,000 steps per day, or about 5 miles, as a gauge for a healthy lifestyle. Many are also designed to work with your smart phone or computer to keep track of calories, overall activity, and even your sleep cycle. While they might not make you skinny, they can help to make sure you’re staying active.

Cook Ahead or at Least Have Healthy Options

Between commuting and long days at work, it can sometimes seem impossible to eat healthy. Try cooking meals ahead of time, especially items that make lots of left overs such as soups, pastas, etc. A couple of hours on a Sunday can be enough time to feed you for the rest of the week. Also, slow cookers are a great option for the busy professional. Throw everything in a slow cooker in the morning, set on low, and be ready to eat delicious food in the evening. If cooking is just not in the cards for you, load up on easy, quick, pre-made dishes. Grocery stores like Fresh and Easy or Trader Joe’s usually have healthier options than some others. Also beware of storing unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks at work. Try to fill your desk with better options such as nuts, energy bars, and dried fruit for your sweet tooth. Invest in a good water bottle to stay hydrated and you’re on your way.

What are some ways that you try to stay healthy at work? Leave tips in the comments below.

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