Being in an office for eight hours a day is not exactly beneficial to your health. Sitting down for long periods of time (at the office, during your commute, and then at home) can increase the risk of heart disease, posture issues, weight gain, and stress. A lack of natural light or a kitchen filled with tempting snacks can quickly leave you feeling sluggish and unable to concentrate.
So how do you tackle this if you have an office job? Simple changes in your daily routine will do the trick and help you to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
1. Always have breakfast
Start the day right and don’t leave home without a hearty and healthy breakfast. A quick coffee won’t do; we’re talking some proteins or grains. Your body needs energy, nutrients, and fibre! If you’re always rushing in the morning, try setting the alarm a little bit earlier. You’ll see how quickly you get used to it. Eating a proper breakfast in the mornings will give you all the fuel you need to concentrate and be productive, and it will also cut down your snack and sugar cravings later in the day.
2. Cut out sugary snacks
Tea and a Tim Tam, anyone? Well, not anymore! Offices are often filled with those high calorie, high sugar snacks. While it’s a nice gesture, it’s definitely not good for your health, especially if you work behind a desk. Chances are it’ll only make you fiddlier without aiding your concentration. So prepare ahead of time and bring a bunch of healthy snacks from home, such as dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts, baby carrots, and savoury crackers. If you’re in desperate need of a chocolate fix, a small piece of dark chocolate will do the trick.
3. Drink lots of water
People in office jobs can easily forget to drink enough water during the day because of a lack of exercise, but drinking water will fill you up, keep you hydrated, help you avoid headaches and may even aid in concentration and productivity – keeping that feeling you need to take a siesta at bay. A good trick is to add some flavour into your water with two slices of lemon peel. An added benefit is that you might be doing a few more bathroom runs – reminding you to get up out of your seat regularly.
4. Conduct walking meetings
If you have a meeting scheduled that doesn’t require computers, then why not have it outside or even walking around the office grounds or neighbourhood? Being confined to the same space all day can get quite suffocating, so give your eyes a break and go outside to soak up the sun while having a productive meeting at the same time. Even if you’re on the phone, take it outside, or walk around while you’re talking. Not only will it keep you moving, but it’ll also serve as a break from the office, help you manage stress and can fire up your creative juices. And needless to say – forget about the elevator and take the stairs. If you’re feeling particularly energetic, try walking or cycling to work to improve your health and do your part for the environment.
5. Cut the e-mails
E-mails can queue up pretty quickly in the inbox, and be quite distracting. So instead of using that time to reply sitting at your desk, why not get up and talk to that colleague in person? It’ll be great to give your legs some exercise while creating a stronger work relationship with other people in the office.
6. Take short breaks
Try to have small breaks every hour – it could be walking to the kitchen, or the toilet, or just around the office. Some arm and upper body stretches on your chair can do the trick as well. The important thing is that you don’t let too much time go past without moving and be sure to give your eyes and brain a breather from the screen. A good idea is to get some colleagues motivated and have short breaks together.
7. Get a standing desk
Standing desks have been taking the corporate world by storm. Working while standing up can reduce back pain and improve productivity – plus it burns more calories. You should aim to spend about half of the day in total standing up. Ask your workplace about adjustable desks, which you can adjust to use use while standing up or sitting down
8. Improve your posture
An improved posture is essential to feel better at the office, especially when it comes to achieving a healthier lifestyle. Some tips include adjusting your chair height so your feet are flat when touching the floor, choosing a 100°-110° reclined angle, using the chair’s armrests, making sure the keyboard is directly in front of your body and keeping your hands straight. When it comes to the screen, this should be directly in front of you and in line with the keyboard. Make sure there is no glare.
Putting your wellbeing first
A desk job doesn’t mean you have to neglect your health. With some tweaks to your routine and everyday life, you’ll be able to stay fit and active. Simple things like choosing the stairs over the escalators and elevators, walking up to a colleague’s desk, working standing up, and utilising walking meetings will go a long way to keeping you healthy in the office.