exercise ball
Photo: Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Thinkstock
Isn't it odd how the mere action of finger tapping, keying in those same 26 letters over and over again in endless variations, seems to whip up a rabid appetite by 11 A.M.? No wonder offices are stocked with more candy than pencils. And what's with modern desk-chair design? Sit in one at the beginning of the day and you're down for the duration. Not all of us spend more than half our waking hours (count them) rooted to office furniture, cultivating obesity. Some of us work on our feet all day, drumming up varicose veins; others live off airplane trays, grabbing sleep between time zones—none of it exactly health promoting. Job stress alone is known to cause heart disease, depression, and musculoskeletal problems. And levels of stress-related illnesses are nearly twice as high for working women as for men, because of factors such as continuing discrimination, sexual harassment, and the burden of home demands, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Even those of us in dream jobs find ourselves hydroplaning between career and Other Life (family, friends, culture, reading, sex, leisure), afraid that if we slow down anywhere we'll skid out of control.

Admittedly, you can't always change jobs. But there are many ways, some of them quite easy, to make your work environment a lot healthier, according to the LLuminari group's 15 doctors and women's wellness experts. Slipping a little exercise into the day, for example, is like spraying oneself with stress repellent. And busting up the sugar-caffeine cartel helps prevent those short-lived spikes in productivity that are followed by the decline of civilization as you and your coworkers know it. Simply buying a flower every Monday morning—one lily or narcissus—will make your cubicle smell nice for the whole week.

Having grappled with weighty careers themselves, the LLuminari experts here offer their best work-improvement ideas. Most important: To make a good living, the emphasis should be on the "living."

Next: Print out our list of 16 healthy work habits and tape it next to your desk