For most adults, working takes up a significant chunk of their time, at least five days a week, so to say it an understatement to say that it’s a big part of our lives. Unfortunately, it can also be a rather unhealthy part of our lives, especially for those who spend most of their time at a desk.
In fact, over the last couple of years there have been a number of somewhat alarming studies suggesting that such jobs are really, really bad for your health. For example, one British study found that an adult’s risk of heart attack increased by 90 percent if they worked a 40 hour work a stressful week at a desk job. And the number of sick days taken by employees all over the world due to work related illnesses and injuries – as well as the costs associated with the missed work – are very high indeed.
While you can’t make working at a desk perfect for your health you can improve things considerably and doing so is easier than you probably imagine. here are some very effective – but relatively simple – ways you can develop healthier working habits.
Keep Your Desk Tidy
A messy desk is a stress factor all by itself, never mind what else is going on the office. Having to spend an extra five or ten minutes hunting for a report that you know is somewhere there in that stack of papers is no fun and the time wasted is a big source of stress, especially if you are working to a deadline.
Then there are things like your phone, computer and its peripherals. These are all well-known repositories of all kinds of germs (yes, your mother’s right, they really are) and the messier your desk the worse they are.
By taking the time, just once a week to clean up your desk and organize things in a way that makes sense to you but still has an order to it you will save yourself time and stress and those have to be good things.
Improve Your Posture
Remember when you were back at school and teachers were always nagging you to sit up straight? Maybe they were doing so as a point of discipline – but it’s also a healthy habit to maintain. Poor posture leads to all kinds of aches and pains, some of them chronic.
According to Randall B. Isenberg, a Dallas DWI lawyer, “The best way to sit at your desk when you must is with your feet flat on the floor and knees and arms bent at a 90-degree angle. You should also adjust your computer monitor (and your chair as needed) so that your eyes are even with its top edge. This will reduce strain on your body, improve you posture and even help prevent eye strain.”
Get Up and Move
The longer you sit at your desk, the more likely you are to get tired and lethargic and your mind will inevitably begin to wander away from the task at hand. Your body will get pretty stiff and sore too, only making matters worse.
While you may not be able to convince your boss to invest in one of those trendy standing or treadmill desks just yet, you can help yourself by getting into the habit of rising from your seat once an hour and taking a short stroll around your office.
Many nutrition experts now actually agree that a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack can be beneficial, providing an energy boost when you need it. What they do not approve of however are sweets and chips and the kinds of junk food people often consider snack food.
So snack smart and bring in your own supplies of veggie sticks or fruit and resist the temptation to sneak into your neighbor’s candy stash and workday snacking can actually be healthy for you.