Most of us would agree that working the average desk job doesn't necessarily lend itself to great health habits. While the nine-to-five grind can pose a challenge to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there are several things you can do to curb the effects of a somewhat sedentary job. Below are 6 tips you can put into action to help you stay healthier at work.
1. Avoid sitting for long periods of time.
Multiple studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time can have a negative impact on your health, as prolonged sitting has been linked to everything from increased blood pressure and high blood sugar to abnormal cholesterol levels and excess fat around the waist. While working a desk job can obviously make it more challenging to avoid prolonged sitting, do your best to think of ways to add more movement to your day. For example, you can set your phone alarm to remind you to take quick "standing breaks" every 30 minutes. You could also try standing or walking around while talking on the phone or doing other work-related activities that don't require you to sit in front of the computer.
2. Wash your hands. A lot.
Most health experts will tell you that frequent hand-washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick. It goes without saying that there are quite a few germs floating around the average workplace, so washing your hands multiple times throughout the day can never hurt. Make sure to wash your hands before and after eating, after coughing or sneezing, and after every restroom trip.
3. Take the stairs.
If you work in an office building that has an elevator, avoid the temptation to take the easy way up (or down) by taking the stairs instead. Making this small adjustment can help you burn quite a few extra calories throughout the day, and it can give your leg muscles some extra work as well. Of course, you will want to avoid extremes on this one--for example, if your office is on the 40th floor, taking the stairs all the way up will not be very practical (unless you moonlight as a decathlete).
4. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to help you maintain your alertness and freshness of mind, and it's good for your overall health as well. Bring a large water bottle with you and keep it at your desk, so that you can refill it as needed during the day.
5. Get some fresh air whenever possible.
Spending your entire day under artificial lighting and recycled, conditioned air is not the best way to promote good health. Be sure to step outside during your break and lunch times to get plenty of fresh air and sunlight, so that you can get a good dose of vitamin D before heading back inside. You would be surprised how much of a difference this can make in terms of helping you maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
6. Get up and stretch periodically throughout the day.
When you're holding your head and body in a fixed position (e.g., staring at your computer screen) for long periods of time, your muscles can become stiff and tense. Make sure to get up periodically to stretch your arms, shoulders, back, neck, and legs, so that your muscles can stay nice and loose.
Staying healthy is one of the most important keys to maintaining workplace productivity. Use the tips outlined above to help you promote better health and well-being on the job.