Scared by the revelation that too much sitting is worse for you than smoking? Worried about your screen-gazing? Fear not, desk workers. We’ve got some tips to help you stay healthy while at work.
Even if you don’t have many ‘official’ breaks scheduled, only the most draconian boss would begrudge you leaving your desk for a 60 second wander. Make sure that you’re stretching your legs and resting your eyes every couple of hours. If you need an excuse, head to the toilet or to get yourself a drink of water.
Prioritise your back
It’s easy to get into a literal slump when you’re at a desk all day. Human backs are delicate things and, unfortunately, poor seated posture is one of the easiest ways to do long term damage to your spine. You can give your back a fighting chance by raising your screen to that you’re not hunched over to see it, or by getting an ergonomic posture-friendly chair.
Use a footrest
This one may not be appropriate for the longer-legged amongst you but, for the rest of us, a footrest is another way to keep your posture healthy and back-friendly. By raising your feet a bit you’ll bring your hips into a better alignment which will protect your spine from too much strain. Footrests are also good for the circulation in your feet and calves, as well as being nice and comfy!
Regulate what you eat
Snacking is all too easy in an office environment. There’s always an open biscuit tin floating around somewhere! However, the kind of absentminded grazing we all do at our desks can pile on the pounds pretty quickly, without us even noticing where the extra calories are coming from. If you’re prone to snacking at work, try bringing healthy treats with you, such as nuts or grapes?
Make the most of non-desk time
Spend all day slumped at your desk at work, them come home and slump on the sofa? While it may seem like a big ask when you’re knackered after a long day at the office, your wellbeing will thank you for it if you can make the most of any non-desk time you have. We’re not saying that you should drag yourself to the gym. But maybe go for a stroll, or do something enriching that’s not screen-based. Perhaps a bit of gardening, or a game with the kids. Even just reading a book rather than gazing at the telly will make a nice change for your brain!
Get a separate mouse
Repetitive strain and carpal tunnel injuries are common in desk workers. The risk of these can be minimised by giving your hands a bit more space to roam around your desk. If you’re restricted to the touchpad and small keyboard of a laptop, the risk of damage to your wrists goes up. Try getting a separate mouse which will make your hand movements a bit less cramped. You could also get a separate keyboard and wrist supports if you’re really serious about protecting your hands.
Use a sit/stand desk
Sit/stand desks are desks designed to help you work comfortably from both a seated and a standing position. If your boss is reluctant to fork out for one, tell them that these desks are proven to improve productivity by up to 20%! Why? Probably because being able to switch between sitting and standing keeps our bodies and thought processes from stagnating. Plus, it brings undeniable health benefits. There will be a lot more of these entering workplaces in the near future, so you may not have to wait long before you get to try one out.