Health Sciences

UCF Experts Provide Tips to Maximize Employee Health and Efficiency

Written By: Drexler B. James '13 | June 1, 2020

A man using a stand-up desk in office.

Now, more than ever, it is critical for employees to take care of themselves. Several experts in the College of Health Professions and Sciences at the University of Central Florida share advice and tips on exercise, diet, sleep, work-life balance and other health and wellness tips to help employees maximize their overall health:

Getting Enough Sleep

Keith Brazendale, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Sciences, recommends that adults aim for about seven hours of sleep a night. “Short or interrupted sleep can increase the risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and can negatively impact mood, concentration and memory,” Brazendale said. Keeping a consistent sleeping schedule is also important for the body, as well as avoiding anything that may heighten the senses before bed, such as prolonged light exposure, vigorous exercise and caffeinated drinks.

Developing Healthy Habits at Work

Different jobs require different physical demands on the body, so it is important for employees to be aware of their specific needs. Anna Valdes, an associate lecturer in the Division of Kinesiology, said that employees can take small steps to ensure the best health they can. Some tips that Valdes offers include taking the stairs instead of the elevator, getting up and walking, parking further away from the final destination and packing a lunch instead of buying food. “It’s about starting small and to keep going,” Valdes said. “Having a plan, no matter how small, helps to keep you focused on being healthy.”

Focusing on Nutrition and Hydration

Nutrition is a key factor in improving health and employees can make small steps to improve their nutrition and hydration, even during the workday. Valerie Schultz, a registered dietitian nutritionist and faculty in the Department of Health Sciences, recommends that people plan to incorporate healthy eating habits into their breakfast and lunch plans at work. She recommends eating 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day and increasing intake of foods with omega-3 fats such as nuts, berries, beans and fatty fish like salmon. Hydration is also important, and Schultz says water is the best choice. But if you are tired of water, there are flavored water options to choose from as well.

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