How many of you work 9 to 5 on a desk job? If you do, you must be familiar with the struggle of maintaining your health with it. Staying on a chair facing a computer for 8 hours a day can take a toll on your weight, give you back problems and strain your eyes, just to mention a few of the effects. Around two weeks ago, when I wrote an article on time management, I had promised you all that I’d do an article on ways to stay healthy at a desk job. So, here I am, making an effort to fulfill that promise. It is extremely important that you do not compromise on your health because of your job. For if your health suffers, so does your productivity. And you do need to stay productive to have a job for the long run, don’t you?
So, without much further chit-chat, let’s get straight to work. Read on to find out the 7 ways you can stay healthy at a desk job.
Alcohol? (just kidding). You need to take in a lot of fluids, especially water. Water helps you feel fuller for longer so you have a lesser chance of snacking. Keep a bottle of water on your desk and drink at regular intervals. Personally, I find it’s easier if I drink one full glass every hour, and the little sips I take in between. It makes tracking my water intake easier. Drinking a lot of water also keeps up your alertness, so you don’t laze out during your work hours.
Maintain your Posture
When you’re on a desk job, it’s easy to find yourself slouching on the chair more and more every day. This takes a toll on your posture and gives you the back problems you never had before. This, at least, was the case with me. This is a must if you want to stay healthy at a desk job. Maintaining a correct posture means you are using your core throughout the time. There’s that added bit of core workout you really need. A month into my first office, where I stay at a desk all day long had me like this:
So, do not slouch. Do not compromise your posture for comfort. The more you slouch, the higher your risk of getting a bigger tummy. Whenever you find yourself slouching or your shoulders drooping, remind yourself to sit straight and focus on a correct posture.
Relax your Eyes
Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen to an object that is at least 20 feet far from your desk. It’s called the 20-20 rule and this practice helps to relieve the strain caused by continuous staring at the screen. Don’t look at the computer screen for a prolonged period of time without blinking. Your eyes will hate you for it. Remember to blink regularly and look away from your screens if you want your eyes to thank you. Investing in a good pair of spectacles that have an anti-glare or a blue coating on the lenses might be a good idea. I use those and find that my eyes feel much more comfortable working on the computer for longer hours.
As with anything, breaks are crucial if you want to stay healthy at a desk job. Every hour, get up from your chair and walk around your office. Go to a co-workers desk to say hi, or to the furthest restroom. Move around for a bit and get the juices flowing in your joints.
Do I need to elaborate on this? Well, when you’re sitting in a chair for over 8 hours a day, it becomes even more important that you make space for exercise on your schedule. Try waking up 30 minutes earlier if you don’t have time during the day. Working out is even easier these days. With YouTube channels on fitness and yoga, you can have your own personal trainer without having to pay for one. I use FitnessBlender, I find their videos to be very effective. Even at work, you can take short exercise breaks. Do some jumping jacks or stretch out for a bit. It’s for your health, who cares what others think about it?
Walk or Bike to Work
With so less time for adding a long exercise regimen to our schedule, we have to get creative and make tweaks to our daily activities. How about walking to work? If you live within a 4-5 km radius of your office, walking shouldn’t be a problem. No? You live further than that? Okay. How about you use a bicycle instead? These alternatives give you an extra bit of exercise and reduce your carbon footprint as well. Talking about carbon footprints, I’ll probably have to do an article on the effects of climate change in Nepal that impact the local people.
I am lucky to have an office that provides all employees well cooked, hygienic, Nepali lunches every day. However, not all offices do so. So, the safest bet for you to stay healthy at a desk job would be to pack your own lunches at home and bring it with you. Do not expect restaurants to take care of anything other than your hunger and taste buds. To be healthy, you need to eat healthy, so take charge of the biggest meal of the day – your lunch.
If you have to eat out, make sure you choose the healthiest options available. Load up on salads and cut back on fried foods. Eating a good lunch ensures you are less likely to snack on unhealthy bits later in the afternoon.
So, here ends my list of 7 ways to stay healthy at a desk job. These are tips that I personally find helpful. I started looking for ways to regain my health when only a month after I had started to work, I found myself packing on the pounds. Not just that, my overall health was suffering. These tips have helped me a lot and I hope you find them useful as well. Working a desk job is inevitable, so if you want to stay healthy at a desk job, changes to your lifestyle have to be made.
If you have any further questions or want to share anything with us, please write it in the comments.