Working at an office can actually be an unhealthy lifestyle. I mean, it’s hardly like being down in the mines, but long hours sitting at adesk can have a long term impact on the mind and body. Then there’s the commute to work, stress of meetings and deadlines and strain from screens. If you workin an office, it’s important to look after your health.

Check Your Posture

Around 86% of Americans work all day sitting down. This sedentary behaviour has been linked to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and muscular & skeletal problems.That’s not to mention secondary issues like obesity and cardiovascular illness.

Sitting down also causes the spine to curve, lungs have trouble expanding and less oxygen reaches the brain. Slouching while sitting down makes it worse, and can lead to arthritis.

Put simply, you should be looking to stand up and walk around as often as possible. If work involves long hours of sitting, you should change your posture every 8 minutes or so, and have 2 minute long moving breaks at least a couple of times per hour.

You can also find equipment to reduce the issues associated with working in an office. A more ergonomic mouse and keyboard will reduce repetitive strain injury. A decent chair can provide the back support that you need, whilst a laptop stand can keep your computer at the right level so that you are looking straight.

Exercise and Diet

Office jobs involve very little exercise for the body. More labour intensive work might be tough, but at least it keeps the body active. If you work at a desk, you need to make a more deliberate effort outside of work.

One way to do this is to walk or cycle to work, if this is possible. If not, walk to the shops or take small strolls instead of driving everywhere. Ideally, you want to get at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per week. Getting this amount also improves mind and mood.

Find enjoyable ways to stay active that fit in with your lifestyle. If you don’t have much time in the evening, a quick jog every couple of days is all that it takes.

In reality, it’s going to take commitment and motivation to stick to your goals. One ingenious and fun idea is to get in competition with a friend and put your money where your mouth is – just a small amount will do.That’s exactly what two poker professionals did to achieve their goals. One wanted to meditate and the other lose weight. And it seems to be working for them. So, find your own motivations, and stick to your exercise regime even if it’s a small amount each day.

When it comes to diet, many office workers skip breakfast and then eat junk food during quick lunch breaks. This is a bad start to the day.It’s better to get up early and eat healthily to keep stress levels low and kick in metabolism. For lunch, consider taking your own food or finding healthy outlets.

Looking After The Mind

Looking after the body will also help to keep the mind fresh and happy. Research suggests that that exercise reduces stress hormones and releases endorphins – natural pleasure chemicals in the brain. If you follow the advice above, you will be part way to having a healthy mind too.

Staring at screens late at night can cause sleep deprivation.The blue light is really bad for your eyes, as is staring at a screen for hours. The ‘Flux’ app can really help with this, filtering the blue light out of the screen to ease the strain and disruption. As someone who works online, I try to turn off my laptop and other devices a couple of hours before bed.

Another recommendation is to meditate. This can be informal,like a stroll in nature or half an hour relaxing by a river. Or it can be a deliberate routine that you get into to keep your mind calm and de-cluttered.When the workday is over, it’s important to switch off, and meditation is one positive way to do it. Meditation has a number of health benefits, and can also change your sleep for the better.

If you work in an office, looking after your health should be a key priority. Mind, body and spirit are all important and, unfortunately, 9 hours sitting down staring at a screen can be damaging to all three. It’s up to you to replenish with healthy activities and an overall balance in life.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "Balancing Health and Office Work," in Medicalopedia, November 13, 2018, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/7025/balancing-health-and-office-work/].