Do you have a desk job and sit all day? Here’s how to stay healthy at work.
If you’ve been wondering how to stay healthy at work, we’ve got you covered.
You’ll be shocked if you calculate all the time you spend sitting at work, plus your commute and hours spent in front of the TV.
In this blog, we take a look at ways to minimise the damage all that sitting has on your health, and we give bonus tips on how to stay healthy at work.
Why sitting all day is killing us
We were born to move, not sit immobile for hours and hours on end.
Studies have linked excessive sitting to:
- Decreased lifespan
- Raises your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
- Risk of deep vein thrombosis (clot) increases after long periods of immobility
- Lack of movement means you’re burning less energy… which can lead to weight gain
- Damage to your neck and back caused by poor sitting posture
- You might promote varicose veins
- Overall strength and mobility decrease as you stiffen up from sitting and not moving enough
- Sedentary behaviour is linked to increased risk of cancer
The most astonishing fact is that even if you exercise, you cannot undo the effects of sitting for 7 hours at a stretch.
Now we’re not saying that you should quit exercising, far from it, but we need to take action (literally) during all those sitting hours to reduce these serious health risks.
How to stay healthy at work if you sit all day
If you’re chained to your desk all day, the best way to reduce the risks associated with all that sitting is simply to move more.
Here are some practical tips to stay healthy with a desk job:
- Stand up every 20 minutes.
- Take frequent bathroom breaks and make a point of stretching in the bathroom. Maybe do some leg lifts and squats to get the blood moving again.
- Leave the building during your lunch break, try to eat outside if you can.
- Stand up during phone calls.
- Take the stairs whenever you can.
- Check your posture: are you hunching over your keyboard? Straining your neck, back or eyes in the process?
- If you suffer from chronic back pain from sitting, you might benefit from seeing a chiropractor.
- Do some exercises at your desk if you can be discrete. You can clench and relax your glutes and calves, lift your legs under your desk, stand up and sit down on your chair a few times to work your quads, do triceps dips on the edge of your chair (make sure your chair can’t roll out from under you!). If you have your own office you can also do walking lunges, squats and pushups against the wall or your desk.
- Invest in a standing desk, if your company permits it. Bonus points for getting the boss to buy one for you after you’ve shown them this article!
Bonus Tips: how to stay healthy at work
Sitting all day is probably the biggest threat to your health in the office, but we’ve compiled a list of additional healthy actions you can take to keep healthy at work.
Get in your H20
We know that for many people, working hard means chugging endless cups of coffee while they “hustle”. But don’t forget that caffeine is a diuretic!
Dehydration will lead to headaches and fuzzy thinking, which is not ideal when you are trying to be productive.
This means you need to sip on good ol’ water throughout the day. Aim to get at least 2 litres of water per day.
Also, it’s very easy to mistake thirst for hunger, which means you might be eating more when really you just need to increase your water intake.
Eat healthy lunch and enough food
When learning how to stay healthy with a desk job it makes sense to tackle your diet at the same time.
Ordering takeaways and snacking on sugar all day will definitely impact your ability to concentrate and perform at work.
Also, be sure to eat enough food. Oftentimes people under-eat during the work day but then overcompensate at night, leading to heartburn and insomnia.
For some great work lunch ideas, check out this blog here.
Beware of office parties
It can be challenging to stay healthy with a desk job when there are frequent parties at the office.
We get it, it’s almost always someone’s birthday. While it’s healthy to celebrate and not always deny yourself, take a moment to think about how many times a month you’re exposed to cake, pastries and cupcakes.
This goes for catered-for meetings as well. It’s so easy to “forget” all the finger foods and snacks being consuming at work.
Avoid the gossip
Gossip and bad-mouthing are notorious pastimes at the office but you do not have to be a part of it.
We’re sure you can think of a few people who are always talking trash about the boss, the company and other staff members.
For the sake of your mental wellbeing and stress levels, start to distance yourself from negative people and definitely don’t contribute or add fuel to the gossip fire.
Minimise time wasters
Do you ever feel overwhelmed at work and like you have far too much on your plate?
If so, try see what your time wasters are.
Here are some common ways that you lose time when you should be doing your work:
- People randomly walking into your office and chatting with you. In this case, set boundaries and have people schedule time with you.
- Constantly checking your phone/social media/reading the news
- Frequent coffee and/or smoke breaks (all these breaks adds up!)
- Spending time on small, inconsequential tasks instead of important projects. In other words, you’re “busy” but not necessarily productive.
Once you eliminate the time wasters and distractions, you’ll be in a better position to tackle the hard tasks and meet those deadlines.
If you’re working your desk job with endless hours of sitting ahead of you, just know that you can take action to minimise the risks.
Stand up, stretch, move and prioritise your hydration and eating to stay healthy at work.
Considering that we spend most of our time at work, and obviously our jobs provide for our livelihood, we should make it our priority to work as productively and healthily as possible.
- Pick one or two healthy work tips to implement this week.
- Share this article with your family and colleagues
- And let us know: which of these healthy work tips will you implement this week?