Working in an office all day and sitting at your computer sounds like an easy task. After all, what “actual work” is involved there? No heavy lifting, no running, no back-breaking labor under a hot sun. What is to complain about, right? However, the reality is much different than that perception.
Life as an office drone, or even a manager, can be draining. Monotonous, mindless work is rife. Repetitive strain injuries are common and cause aches and pains that are more irritating than debilitating. Sitting all day worsens conditions like back problems, circulatory issues, blood pressure problems, and weight concerns. Improper ergonomics and bright screens lead to hunched backs and strained eyes.
Even worse is the feeling of being trapped. After all, how can you ask for a break when you haven’t actually been “doing” anything? This mindset leads to snacks and lunches eaten at desks, mindlessly consumed as the brain is otherwise occupied. Not only does this mindless consumption mean that they eat more than they needed to, but being tethered to the desk often leads to unhealthy meal and snack choices from the vending machines.
For many office workers, the only physical activities they get are the trips to and from their car. Not to mention sunlight exposure! When you come in before the sun rises and leaves as it sets, that doesn’t exactly make for a lot of vitamin D time.
Is it any wonder that a society of office workers is also a society with health problems? But what can we do to combat this? After all, our jobs call for us to be seated, at our desks, in front of a screen, for eight hours a day. How can we stay healthy and still perform our duties… and bring home that all-important paycheck?
Yes, you read that right. Even if your office frowns on movement other than the minimal, you should learn to take breaks. Stand up for your health; literally and figuratively. To work healthy, make it a habit to take regular breaks. If your boss gives you a hard time, tell them how important it is to move around. You work better, you think better, you feel better, and you take less sick days. What more could they ask for?
It doesn’t take long. Just five minutes up and out of your chair can reinvigorate you. Find an empty stairwell (aren’t they all empty?) and go up and down a couple of times. Do some sit-ups or push-ups. You don’t have to break a sweat and stink up the office; just get your blood pumping.
On your lunch break, get outside! Get away from your desk and move. If you can bring a healthy lunch from home then great, that leaves you more time to stay moving. Go outside and sit in the sun. Even if you have to sit on the trunk of your car or take a bandana to spread out so you can sit in the grass, at least you’re out.
Eat a sensible amount, you don’t have to gorge yourself, and then get moving! Walk around the block a few times, look in windows, see the sights, and smell the flowers. Get some vitamin D in your system and give your muscles a break.
If you can’t bring your lunch, then walk to where you are getting your food. Even if you have to speed walk to make it back in time, at least you moved. Don’t worry about eating a lot at lunch. You will be taking a break later and you can have a bite then, right?
This is where fresh fruit, trail mix, and yogurt come in. No matter when you eat, you are going to be bored at some point and get the munchies. Don’t grease yourself up with chips and soda. Drink water — it is good for you, makes everything feel better, and actually helps you not be as hungry. Eat healthy snacks that keep you awake rather than put you to sleep. Isn’t a five-minute break better than a three-hour zone-out in front of your screen?
Remember, you can eat and move. Do ten sit-ups, eat a bite, repeat. Yes, I know, you’re not supposed to eat and exercise. Ten sit-ups will not cramping make. You can do that lying down. (That was a joke.)
Anyway… Remember to stretch too. Your muscles have been cramped up in the same position for so long that they have forgotten how to move and, yes, that can hurt. Stretch early, stretch often. If you have to, go in the restroom to stretch. At least your audience will be smaller there.
Don’t chain yourself to your desk. You do have the right to move about. Use your body, refresh your mind, and reinvigorate your work. I guarantee that your productivity will increase the better you feel.
Do you work healthy and take regular breaks at work?
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