For the majority of people, work means sitting down at a desk for eight hours a day. Because of computer technology, this is inevitable. But there are many health risks which such a sedentary lifestyle can document. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, poor eyesight and back strain, are some of the common problems working at a desk five days a week can cause. There are methods which you can put in place to prevent this, however, they can’t always be overcome outside of working hours. So here are five things we can do to try at work, in order to help us remain healthy and active throughout the day, despite being at a desk!
A hugely simple piece of advice, but unfortunately very difficult to actually apply. Sitting up straight is great for just improving your posture. Take a breath, fill up your chest, then hold your shoulders back. This is a natural position you should sit in each day, keeping your back straight and tall but without straining it. Sitting badly can leave you with some chronic long term conditions. Arthritis, bursitis, lumbar spinal stenosis and abnormal spine alignment. But this is not only damaging to your body. Being hunched over your desk can leave your body drained and without energy. Training your body to sit upright lets you focus and be more productive.
Eat and Drink Right
Possibly even more obvious than the first one. Diet is the foundation for feeling, fit healthy and relaxed. Although you might not think it, eating foods with less sugar and more protein will actually help you maintain your energy levels throughout the day, without adding additional stress to your system.
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. A fibre-rich start to the morning lowers your metabolism and gives you energy throughout the day, hopefully meaning you don’t snack. Drinking lots of water is effectively your best snack. It promotes weight loss and gets you off your feet using the toilet.
Try To Prevent Stress
This is possibly one of the hardest ones. Stress is a massive health and safety issue in the workplace and is the leading cause of depression, anxiety and other associated illnesses. It is inevitable in the workplace and something that your manager or team leader has to help you out with. Commonly pressure and odd, or long hours are the main causes. It’s important to work out just how stressed you are. Arinite health and safety advisors have developed a Matrix which is great at finding out your problems. Simple things such as walking away from a stressful environment, stretching or even breathing exercises are everyday techniques you can use to try and prevent stress.
Try Out A Standing Desk
It might seem a bit odd, and not many companies or management would try it, but there are massive benefits to a standing workstation. Standing up instead of sitting down-regulates your metabolic rate and increases the activity of fat-burning enzymes. It results in a lower risk of obesity and diabetes. Standing up all day might be a bit too much too soon for some, but if you spend a quarter of the day standing up, it can seriously drop the risk of obesity.
Increase Your Lower Level Physical Activity
This one might be tricky to do unless management steps in. You might even get a few odd glances. But by developing a routine that forces you to move around the office will get you going a bit, increasing your metabolism further. Japan has already taken massive inspiration from this, which have a ‘sit down and get up’ strategy.
For many offices, it will be impossible to do some of these techniques. But even trying to incorporate some of them can greatly benefit your lifestyle.
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About the Author
I am a freelance journalist, who studied Business at Sheffield University. Now based in London I produce content online across a variety of different topics.