According to various studies, a sedentary lifestyle can increase your chances for illnesses like diabetes, obesity, and other heart diseases, as well as high blood pressure, colon cancer, lipid disorders, osteoporosis, and even mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. If your job requires you to sit at a desk and stare at a screen all day, know that you can still take some steps to protect your health. If your lifestyle is largely sedentary due to your work, here are some tips and physical activities you can do throughout your day to improve your overall health and well-being.
Find ways to move while working
When you have to stare in front of a screen, you obviously won’t have as much time to move your body. But everyone has to take breaks at some point, and these are precious windows you can take advantage of throughout your day. Here are some ways to sneak in some physical activity throughout your workday:
- Take a walk during your breaks. Consider doing the Pomodoro productivity method, a process that divides tasks into 25-minute intervals and taking 5-minute breaks in between. During these breaks, walk around your house or your office, or go outside to get a breath of fresh air. Don’t just look through your phone or check your social media accounts. Make sure to leave your workstation to do some walking somewhere else.
- Stand up during meetings, whether it’s online or in-person. If you are a boss or a manager, build a culture where standing up during long meetings is acceptable and not considered disrespectful to others.
- If you need to communicate with a co-worker or an employee, consider walking over to their workstation instead of calling them or messaging them through your work app.
- Ditch the elevator and use the stairs as much as you can.
- Take a 15-minute walk after taking your lunch. Exposure to the sun will be good for you as well; make sure you’re wearing sunscreen. Look for restaurants a few blocks over instead of going to your office cafeteria.
- If you have to take a phone call, whether through a landline or smartphone, do it standing up.
There are plenty of ways to sneak in some movement into your workday, no matter how busy you are.
Mind your posture
Bad posture while working a desk job can cause damage to your health, like back pain or soreness, and even eye strain or dry eyes needing MGD treatment. If you constantly need to stoop low to see your screen, your workstation might not be ergonomic. Here are some ways to ensure your computer setup enforces proper posture:
- Make sure your monitor is aligned with your eye height.
- Elbows must be 90 degrees tucked in close to your body, and your wrists must be straight.
- Your thighs should be parallel with the floor, with your knees bent at 90 degrees or wider.
- Your feet must be flat on the floor and must be able to support the weight of your legs.
Do some stretches
Aside from going for a walk during your 5-minute breaks, incorporate some stretches as well. Sometimes what stops us from doing some basic exercising or stretching is the belief that we have to be wearing workout clothes or that we need to spend hours upon hours to do it. Still, the truth is that every bit of physical activity helps, as long as we do it consistently. You don’t even need to leave your chair; you can do some upper body stretches while still at your workstation.
Invest in some fitness gear and bring them to work
If you have your own office, you can also invest in some resistance bands, kettle balls, stretchy tubes or cords, and smaller hand weights that you can keep in your office and use whenever you’re taking a break. This option is the next best thing to going to an actual gym—especially if you don’t have the time to do so. Watch some workout videos on YouTube and follow closely to ensure that you’re spending enough time doing the workout. Workouts like aerobics and Zumba don’t even need equipment—so lock your office door for privacy and dance the day away!
Productivity and success are good, but they should not be at the expense of our health. While hard work is always noble, we don’t need to compromise our well-being to achieve our goals. We can find ways to find success in our jobs without neglecting our bodies. Good luck!