An office job is not exactly a healthy profession. The office can often be a breeding ground for bugs, stress and potential serious illness over time. There are some minor changes you can introduce into your daily routine to improve your health and wellbeing. These tips alone won’t turn you into an athlete but if you can adopt some or all of them and keep them up over a prolonged period of time then you will see the benefits in your general health.
I’ve provided 10 tips below and I’ll provide a further 10 next week. The tips are primarily aimed at people that sit at a desk and stare at a screen all day however all professions can take a lot of this advice on board. The tips are not in any particular order. Some are more important than others for sure but it’s the sum of all these combined over time that can lead to real health improvements for sedentary workers.
1. Take the stairs
I work on a 3rd floor office and I live in a 3rd floor apartment. I sometimes go days without taking the lift! Why? I get free exercise on the stairs about 5 or 6 times a day! Why do you think most gyms have a Stairmaster machine? It’s because taking the stairs is good exercise. There’s no need to leave friends or colleagues at the lift door mid conversation so you can take the stairs but do take the opportunity to climb the stairs whenever you can.
2. Walk around
Stand up and walk away from your desk every half an hour. Use the bathroom, get yourself a drink or follow up with a colleague in person rather than sending an email. Stretching your legs is important, and so is giving your eyes and your brain a break from your computer.
3. Drink water
Water is good for you. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Tiredness is often caused by dehydration. Add lemon or lime if you want some flavour. Sparkling water is just as good for hydration. You should be drinking 8 glasses of water a day or almost 2 litres, so get sipping!
4. Stand at your desk
Does your office have standing desks? Have you suggested it to your employer? There’s plenty of standing desk retailers to be found no matter what part of the world you’re in. Hubspot provide their employees with standing desks in all of their global offices. Forward thinking companies understand that a healthy workforce is a motivated and productive one. Standing is healthier than sitting, simple as that. Sitting on your ass all day isn’t good for you. Tell your boss you want to get off your ass!
5. Watch your caffeine intake
How many cups of coffee or tea are you drinking each day? Caffeine has a number of benefits however it's important to keep an eye on your intake. Coffee is the worst offender in terms of caffeine levels. The Mayo Clinic recommend no more than 4 cups a day. Personally I try not to have more than 2 caffeine related drinks a day (I’m in the fortunate position of not being a huge coffee fan though!). Black tea is a little better however it still has a moderately high amount of caffeine. Green or white teas have lower levels of caffeine and are also a good anti-oxidant. Can you start substituting these teas or natural juices for your coffee? You don’t need coffee to give you an energy boost. Proper diet and nutrition will provide this.
6. Wash your hands
You’d be surprised how many germs or bacteria you can pick up from an office. Do your bit by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water every time you visit the bathroom. Use the hand sanitizers provided in most modern offices at breakout areas and canteens. Always wash your hands before and after you eat.
7. Eat well
Eat a sexy breakfast before you leave home and either order a healthy nutritious lunch at the office or prepare something at home the night before and bring it with you. Nutritious meals and snacks will provide you with the energy you need to not only get through the day but to crush it. Cut out sugary snacks and drinks from your diet. Bring healthy snacks with you to keep your hunger cravings at bay. Preparation is key. If you’re not prepared then you’re more likely to choose a quick and unhealthy alternative.
8. Wipe your equipment
Stop germs and bacteria from spreading by using antibacterial wipes to clean your desk phone, mobile, keyboard, mouse, monitor and any equipment that you or your colleagues come into contact with on a regular basis.
9. Be active outside of work
Define an exercise routine for yourself around your work and your home life. Join a gym, go for a run or join a sports club. At a minimum go for a walk outdoors in the evening and at weekends and relieve the stresses and strains of your office job. Do not come home from work to simply slump in front of the TV for the night. You’ve been sitting all day already!!
10. Mix up your commute
Get off the bus or train a stop early and walk the rest of the journey to/from work. If you’re driving, then park a little further away from the office than you normally would. As well as getting a little exercise you’ll also be helping to clear your mind before or after your day at the office.
Start making some of these minor changes today. They all add up to a healthier mind and body.
Yours in health,
P.S I love talking about wellness so feel free to drop me a line to discuss any of the above. Contact me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Low Down
Brian Crooke is a wellness consultant specialising in the design, improvement and auditing of wellness initiatives for Irish businesses. He is the founder of Office Worker Health, a platform dedicated to promoting health and wellbeing to the working population.
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