Staying Healthy at Work
Does your 9-5 (or later) desk job have you sitting and staring at a computer all day? This may be causing more health risks than you realize. Next time you find yourself sitting at your desk all day, follow these tips!
1. Take frequent breaks. Try to get up and walk around at least every hour during the day. Set an alarm so you can keep track of the time. While I was interning over the summer, I made sure to constantly be drinking water. This forced me to get up and move since I had to go to keep going to the bathroom and obviously gave me the added benefit of drinking lots water!
2. Take the stairs. If your office isn’t on the first floor, always opt to take the stairs. Another strategy: use the bathroom that is a floor above your desk or pick the one that is furthest away.
3. Avoid emailing a co-worker who is in the office. Instead of emailing someone who is a few steps away, just walk over to their office/cube. Adding in any amount of walking during the day helps. Strategy: use a pedometer to see how many average steps you take each day, the goal is to aim for between 6,000 and 10,000 steps a day.
4. Challenge colleagues. Create an exercise challenge among your colleagues. You can even make it into a competition with prizes. Other ideas: train together for a race or start an intramural sports team.
5. Avoid food traps. Bring your lunch to work instead of going out for lunch every day. Bring healthy snacks in order to steer clear the vending machine. Pass up the random food that always ends up in the office. Resist the urge to have a bowl of chocolates/candies within reach at your desk.
7. Focus on posture. High on your priority list should be to make sure your work station (chair, keyboard, mouse) positions are all adjustable.
Reg B. Wilcox, a clinical supervisor in the Department of Rehabilitation Services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, says:
Periodically change your sitting position to allow different muscles to assist you. If your chair is height adjustable make sure your feet are able to rest flat on the floor, your thigh is either parallel to the floor or your hips are higher than your knees. If tall individuals sit in a low chair and their knees are higher than their hips it places a significant amount of stress on the hamstrings, pelvis, and lower back.
8. Go hands free. Avoid using your arm and/ or neck muscles constantly to hold a phone receiver. This puts a lot stress on the neck and upper shoulder muscles. If you take on the phone frequently for more than 5 minutes at a time, you should use a headset or a hands free speaker phone.
What tips do you have for staying healthy at work?