Staying Healthy at Work Part 1: Moving

I don’t know about you, but working in front of a computer all day can actually be taxing on my body. My hips and hamstrings are tight, my posture is poor and my neck and shoulders tend to suffer.

Our modern lifestyle has led to a lot less of our time spent outdoors doing physical labour but much more time sitting at a computer. When its finally time to relax, we may find ourselves plunked in front of the tv, or even browsing the internet on our computers or smart phones. Many chronic sitters notice tension in their back, neck, shoulders and often suffer from headaches or muscle aches. However, the problem doesn't just lie in tight muscles and poor posture but much for serious health conditions. 

One potential way to solve this is a standing desk. I am fortunate enough to have two handy brothers that were able to make me a custom standing desk but don't worry - there are still plenty of options out there! IKEA for example has cheaper ones that you adjust manually and the more expensive hydraulic option that adjusts to your height or can be lowered for when you need to sit again. If you don’t have the space or money for another desk there is also the option of a removable attachment that can be placed on your desk and raised to your height. When you feel like sitting you can just lower it again.

Standing more frequently throughout the day has been linked to lessening your chances of chronic disease, particularly heart disease and diabetes. Poor circulation and concentration are also of concern. There has also been studies that linked standing desks to increase productivity.

What’s really important is that you take time to move during the day whether it’s a walk during your break, or exercising when you get home. If you have the option of using a standing desk throughout the day that is fantastic but it may not be an option for everyone. Another option may be walking or biking to work depending on how close you live. 

If you are an employer, I highly recommend you invest in some standing desks or attachments, or at the very least allow employees to get up throughout the day to stretch out and move around. This isn’t just for their health benefit but could give you more productive and refreshed employees. Another option, if you don't need to take notes, is conduct walking meetings where you just walk and talk in or outside of your building. 

But like I said before, if you don't have the opportunity to move or stand throughout the day, make time to exercise before or after work. I am not talking about having to lift heavy weights or do high intensity interval training every evening but even just getting out for a walk can be beneficial to your health. Bonus points if you can get outside since many of us, even those who live a healthy life, are considered to be deficient in vitamin D. This largely has to do with our lack of sun exposure and days spent in an office. 

Since we are on the topic of protecting our health at work, be sure to protect your eyes from blue light from electronic devices. Take breaks from your screen or invest in some prescription or prescription glasses that block out some of the blue light.

I hope you found this article helpful and again, if you do have a standing desk, walk around or stretch during your breaks to refresh your mind, exercise outside of work hours and take breaks from looking at a screen! 

In good health,

xo nic

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