Top Tips for Staying Healthy with a Desk Job
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2021 by The Office Zen Master — No comments
Fundamentally, prolonged periods of sitting (desk job, anyone?) aren’t good for you. They can affect your physical health, with issues ranging from cardiovascular disease and carpal tunnel syndrome to mental health problems, such as stress. The risk of diabetes, back problems, and even some cancers is also increased.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. With the right approach, those in office support jobs in London and elsewhere, and anyone who is desk-based, can improve their health and wellbeing within the confines of their roles. Here are some top tips:
We haven’t evolved to look for long periods of time at a screen in the middle distance or a device in our hand. That means you need to be aware of looking up and away from your screen regularly. Follow the 20 rule—every 20 minutes, look 20 metres away for 20 seconds.
But it’s about your posture as well as your eyesight. Staring at a screen means you may not be in an optimal position for long hours of the day. Make sure that your screen is at eye level, so that your neck and back are positioned well. Adjust your chair and desk height appropriately.
Switch it up
Humans are designed to move, not stay in one position with just our fingers dancing across a keyboard. Take regular breaks to move around or stretch at your desk when you can’t. This will help keep your metabolism higher and alleviate stiffness or any niggling pains.
Even better, use a standing desk or a variable desk. You’ll be able to stand and move about more whilst working.
And be intentional about your breaks. Go for a walk at lunch and make sure you get plenty of movement before and after work. Walk whenever you can—for example, take the stairs instead of the lift—and walk the long way to go and chat with a colleague. These bursts of movement will actually help you to focus more as well.
Take ergonomics seriously
It’s easy to ignore ergonomics when you don’t have any symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), Piriformis Syndrome, or any other pain conditions triggered or worsened by poor ergonomics and positioning.
Learn about foot rests and correct cushioning for wrists to prevent problems in the future.
Take care with your desk posture: keep your back straight, feet flat on the ground (or on a foot rest or raiser), and arms at 90 degrees.
Eat away from your desk
It can be tempting to eat at your desk, especially when pushed for time. But this eliminates a natural break from the same position, and it inevitably leads to mindless eating (more likely to eat more and less healthily).
Instead, decide to have lunch and any snacks away from your desk, where you can be conscious and aware of what you are doing.
And remember this fact: there are 400 times more germs on your computer keyboard than there are in your toilet. Are you sure you want to eat there?!
Take a meeting on the move
Rather than sitting on the phone to a colleague, why not walk and chat? This works brilliantly when you’re brainstorming, but can be used for pretty much any discussion you need to have. It gets you up and mobile without detracting from your productivity.
Many of us work desk jobs and love them. There’s no reason why you can’t still be healthy. You just need to take a few extra steps (often quite literally!) to make it work for your wellbeing.
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