With the way that the world is changing, one may find themselves sitting behind a desk more. There are more options to work remotely, work in coffee shops or work from a holiday spot. Like it or not, this results in poor desk setups, a more sedentary lifestyle as well as an increase in body aches, and pains, an increase in the number of people suffering from co-morbidities and a decreased quality of life. Research shows that since 2009, the number of people who work remotely has risen by 159% (global workplace analytics). That is crazy right? Did you know that there are many ways to make a desk job healthier for you? Here are 5 healthy habits to follow if you are someone who works behind a desk all day:
1. Ensure you have a proper workplace set-up
Working from your couch, kitchen counter, bed or even the car while waiting for school pick-ups has its downfalls. There is a major rise in the number of people suffering from poor posture, backaches and migraines. Most of the time, this is related to how you sit at your desk all day. A basic healthy set-up would be one that includes; A comfortable chair that supports your back, does not have space between your lower back and the chair and ensure the chair follows the natural curvature of your spine. Make sure your desk is at a comfortable height and that your arms and wrists are in a neutral position parallel to the floor. Place a footrest under your feet so your feet are not hanging if they cannot reach the floor. Finally, have your computer screen placed so that the top of the monitor is slightly below eye level, therefore, avoiding slouching over.
2. Force yourself to take breaks
School kids get breaks right? So should adults! Try schedule breaks into your daily work plan otherwise, they may never happen. Set an alarm every hour to force you to get up, take a walk around the office, play with your dog, go outside for fresh air, do a yoga pose or do anything that gets your body moving. Sitting for hours on end stiffens up your body and can contribute to many body aches and pains.
3. Drink lots of water
It’s easy to get carried away at your desk and not realize that hours have passed by and you have not hydrated enough. Keep a bottle of water at your desk at all times and try to sip on it throughout the day. Hydration is vital for concentration too!
4. Pack or prepare your lunch
Whether you are at home or in the office there will always be snack temptations. Whether it be your kitchen pantry or co-workers going to grab take-out. Be prepared to avoid snacking too much as working a desk job sometimes results in weight gain. A well-prepared lunch helps ensure that you get a well-balanced and nutritional meal which helps keep you full of energy and productive throughout the day.
5. Make conscious movement choices
Phones have made our lives too easy and lead to a sedentary lifestyle for many! Need to tell your co-worker something in the room next door? Use it as an opportunity to take a walk instead of messaging them. Need something from your shelves? Stand up, do a quick little stretch and walk over instead of wheeling over in your chair (I know it’s tempting with the wheels) but that little bit of movement will, believe it or not, make a difference!
Written by: Micaela Drofling
B.Sc Sports Science (UKZN) | Hons Biokinetics (UKZN) | M.Sc Sports Science (UKZN)