Your office job could be sabotaging your health.
Even if we’re eating well and exercising regularly, sitting at a desk for over 8 hours a day can impact your health in a number of harmful ways.
Fortunately there are things you can do to make sure your time at work doesn’t sabotage the rest of your healthy lifestyle.
Below are a few tips to help you keep healthy at your desk job.
Remember, don’t just do this when the mood strikes you. It’s best to setup a regular schedule, and make this a daily habit
Also keep in mind that the activities below should be part of a larger schedule of regular exercise and good nutrition.
MBS has a lot more information on health subjects; once you’re done reading this, be sure to take a look at our many other Health and Fitness articles.
1. Save your eyesight
Some studies show that as many as 75% of regular computer users have vision problems due to staring at the screen all day. This even has a fancy name called “computer vision syndrome,” so you know it’s important.
To help reduce eye strain, make sure you give your eyes the chance to regularly focus on something more distant. Setting a simple timer (there’s a number of free ones on the web) to remind you to look away from the screen every 20 minutes will go a long way to saving your vision.
2. Improve your posture
Take a look at how you’re sitting right now. Chances are, you’re either leaning forward with an elbow on the desk, or slouching back in your seat. Holding either position for a length of time isn’t going to be good for you, much less doing it for 8 hours each day.
Numerous studies have been done to describe the proper orientation of your chair, desk, and computer screen to ensure you’re being kind to your back and neck. A quick Google search will provide you the best arrangement.
3. Rest your wrists
One of the most common physical problems that comes with working with computers all day is wrist and hand injuries.
Holding your hand over the mouse or keyboard in one position (usually a bad position) for long periods of time increases stress on the nerves and muscles in the wrist and arm.
If you start to feel pain, numbness, or tingling in your hand after working with the mouse, it’s important to seek help. There are a number of ergonomic mice available, and your company will probably purchase one for you.
Another option that worked for me is to use two mice and switch off from right to left. Awhile back I wrote an article describing how this helped me.
4. Take regular walk breaks
While the information above will help you stay healthier sitting in your chair, you really need to get in the habit of actually leaving your desk from time to time.
As with your eyesight above, try to use some sort of timer to make yourself get out of the chair and walk around.
Plan on 5 or 10 minutes each hour to get to walk and stretch.
5. Talk in person
Today’s technology includes a lot of different methods to ensure you don’t have to speak face to face.
Telephones, email, Facebook, Instant Messenger, and a dozen other electronic communication tools certainly improve time management, but can also contribute to an unhealthy office.
Make it a point each day to return a few messages face to face. Get up and walk over to the next cubicle, next hallway, next floor, or even next building to speak to a coworker.
Not only will you get some exercise, but you’ll probably get more out of the conversation.
6. Stand up for phone calls
Finally, if all else fails and you’re stuck at your desk, try this simple trick.
Anytime you get or make a phone call, stand up while you talk on the phone.
Eventually this will become a habit, and it will give you the chance to stretch your legs several times a day.
Hopefully the information above will help you stay fit at your desk job.
If you have additional tips, be sure to leave a comment below.