How to Stay Healthy When You Work in an Office
Working a desk job is not necessarily good for our health. Research has consistently shown that working long hours at a desk is likely to increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and other serious health conditions. Office workers often work through their lunch hour and barely move for hours at a time. We are also inclined to sit hunched over a keyboard, which is bad for our posture.
Our modern sedentary lifestyle is relatively new in evolutionary terms. 100 years ago, most people led active lives. Sadly, times have changed. Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that across all occupations, workers spend on average 39% of their day sitting. In a desk-based job, this rises to 90%.
As this infographic about health tips for office employees shows, you only need to make a few small lifestyle changes to boost your health.
Skip the Snacks
Working in an office can be boring and it’s easy to fall into the habit of snacking all day. We are also likely to succumb to temptation when colleagues bring in cakes, cookies, and other treats. Nobody wants to be the person who always says “no”. Let’s not forget office vending machines, too. Most of them are filled with calorific snacks, soda, and junk food.
You need to exercise some self-restraint at the office. Swap out unhealthy snacks for nuts, fruit, and veggie sticks. Black coffee is good for you in moderation. Swap out your creamy yogurt for a coconut yogurt and nuts. It’s tasty and nutritious!
If you feel peckish, drink a glass of water instead. We often mistake the symptoms of dehydration for hunger when a glass of water is what we really need. If you crave a sweet fix, snack on a chunk of decadent dark chocolate. Dark chocolate with a minimum 70% cocoa bean content is actually good for you. Yes, seriously, but only in moderation, so don’t chow down on the entire bar.
Do Some Exercise
Just because you are a slave to your keyboard, it doesn’t mean you should avoid exercise during the day. There are lots of ways to get your fitness up without falling behind on your work.
- Get into the habit of walking to a colleague’s desk if you need to talk to them. It’s better for you than picking up the phone.
- Jump off the bus a stop early and walk the rest of the way.
- Cycle to work. If Mike from Suits can do it, so can you.
- Do a HIT workout at lunchtime, grab a shower, and then eat a healthy lunch of grilled chicken, avocado and salad. Your afternoon productivity levels will enjoy a nice boost.
- Look up some desk exercises on YouTube and try them out. Nobody will know you are doing leg raises under your desk.
- If you are lucky enough to have your own office, install an elliptical trainer or stationary Your boss is unlikely to complain if you point out that exercise makes you more productive.
- Instead of eating lunch at your desk, use your lunch hour as an opportunity to go for a walk. Eat your lunch outside if weather permits. You will feel much better for the exercise.
Give Your Eyes a Rest
Staring at a screen all day long is seriously bad for our health. Desk workers are more likely to suffer from eye strain, headaches, sleep disorders, and other problems. Screens emit blue light, which strains the eyes and makes it harder to sleep if you work late into the evening.
To avoid problems, try and give your eyes a rest every 20-minutes. Look away and focus on something at least 20-feet away. Make sure your desk is set up correctly and the screen is the optimum height and distance, so you are not straining to see it. Speak to HR or occupational health if you have any issues with your desk setup.
With a few small changes, your body will thank you!