Your workday may start and end at your desk, but that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate healthier habits!
There’s plenty of research to support that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a number of chronic health issues, including increased risk of heart disease, obesity, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. But did you know that by avoiding prolonged periods of sitting you can mitigate the effects of your desk job?
To prevent any of the harmful effects caused by prolonged periods of sitting, it’s important to get moving! Overhaul your desk habits and get healthy, here’s how:
While you’re at your desk, there are still ways to improve your health. Stretching is one of the best ways to avoid injuries like neck, back, wrist, and shoulder pain. By incorporating stretching into your day, you can help relieve stiffness and tightness in your body. Try setting up a reminder to stretch at least once per hour.
Some organizations have even introduced desk treadmills and an under-desk elliptical machines to get your blood pumping at your desk.
An ergonomically friendly work environment can also help. Experiment with screen, mouse, and keyboard positioning. Consider the height of your office chair or use an exercise ball as a seat. If your office is purchasing new equipment, make recommendations for sit/stand desks, which allow you to raise or lower your desk at the push of a button, giving you the opportunity to stand while working.
Creating balance between your work and time away from your desk is important. Your mind and body need breaks to feel refreshed. Breaks can rejuvenate you, reduce mental fatigue, and increase productivity.
Sometimes it can feel nearly impossible to get away from your desk when you’re busy at work. Don’t be that person who consistently skips lunch, or scarfs down meals at your desk. Your body needs fuel for energy, and your keyboard can do without the crumbs!
Instead, practice mindful eating habits by finding a place to eat that is separate from your work zone, and better yet, embrace the break to socialize with a coworker or a family member. A brief mid-day pause can help you perform at your best and even avoid the mid-afternoon slump. Cultivate a culture of healthy break habits within your organization, like gathering coworkers together for a walking club, or ditching the elevator and taking the stairs to the cafeteria.
To ensure you always take breaks during the workday, schedule them in your calendar and block the time off so others cannot book meetings with you.
Use apps to take breaks throughout the day, reduce screen time and rest your eyesight. Here are a few apps to try:
Work meetings don’t always have to be at your desk. Try getting creative with your meetings to stretch your legs and ensure you aren’t stuck at your desk all day. Here are a few ways to take meetings away from your desk:
- Encourage more walking meetings – whether with coworkers or even clients who visit.
- For meetings that aren’t in person, pop your earbuds in, and take the call on a walk by yourself.
- Occasionally skip the phone calls or emails and just visit your coworkers’ desk to discuss work projects.
During your workday, it may be challenging to get active while working at your desk. But a better question may be: do you take advantage of your time before and after work?
When you’re off the clock, avoid spending time on the couch, no matter how tempting those cushions may be. Use your leisure time to make up for the hours spent sitting at a desk. Get up and get moving!
Go on walks with your family or friends, clean the house, work out at home or at the gym. The possibilities are endless – try to strike a balance between your work life and home life; your body will thank you.
All this activity will build sleep drive and make it easy to fall asleep right away. Say goodbye to tossing and turning. Activity-packed days lead to more restful sleep and improved wellness.
Consider how you’re commuting to work each day. Is your office within walking or biking distance? You can get a few more “steps” in if you trade up your mode of transportation. Instead of driving or taking the bus, check if there’s another way to get to work while incorporating exercise into your commute.
If you decide to drive to the office, park further away from the entrance than you normally would in order to increase your steps. When inside, skip the elevator or escalator and take the stairs!
If you work from home, use your lunch break for a walk around the block.
Use accountability tools like your phone or Fitbit to track your progress and reward yourself as you meet your goals!
Your desk job may be important to you, but it’s important to find ways to balance your health and career. Spending too much time sitting at your desk can have harmful effects on your health and can even hurt your performance at work. Make these tips non-negotiables to put you on the fast track to a healthier lifestyle.