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If you are reading this, it means you are wondering how you can do better to juggle your wellbeing and meet professional goals. The body of an office worker, such as yourself, isn’t used to the rigors of physical labor throughout the day. However, if you don’t mind a few sacrifices, it is possible to stay healthy in your environment.
The sedentary lifestyle of many professionals is a growing concern to health experts. But even if we sit all day, doing work on our computers and phones, we can still make changes that improve our wellness. Need help with getting started? Check out these suggestions below:
Related: Beat Your Seat: Tips to Avoid a Sedentary Workplace
One of the most important things you can do for your health is to make sure you eat regular meals and nourish yourself, but this is easier said than done, since many people eat in front of their computers and do other activities while eating. Here are a few suggestions:
Avoid eating junk food while you are working.
Eat a balanced meal with protein and complex carbohydrates, like an omelet or soup and whole-grain bread, to stay energized throughout the day.
Walk around the office
Get up and walk around for at least five minutes every hour.
Take the stairs instead of using an elevator, or if they are available, use a stair-climbing machine during lunch breaks (try not to fall down).
Have a water bottle that you have to stand up to fill with water. This will give you more opportunities to drink more water throughout the day and also encourage walking, because it’s less convenient than being able to fill up your coffee mug without getting up from your desk!
Adjust your workspace
Ask a professional in ergonomics to evaluate your workspace. Just know that adjusting your workspace is an important first step in improving your health. There are many ways to do this, but here are some of the most common:
Adjust chair height and chair back: If you’re sitting at a desk, try adjusting the height of the chair so that it supports the natural curve of your lower back. Your feet should be flat on the floor with knees at 90 degrees when sitting upright in your chair. You may also want to look into ergonomic chairs, which can help align your spine while at work or while relaxing after work.
Adjust computer monitor: When using a computer screen for long periods of time (more than two hours), adjust its height so that it’s looking slightly downward toward eye level when standing up straight — not looking too high or too low. It’s also important to rotate screens vertically once every hour or so, if possible; this helps reduce eye strain from constantly focusing on one spot from left-to-right as well as top-to-bottom movements, which could contribute towards poor posture over time due to muscle fatigue caused by excessive use.
Adjust desk: Try adjusting where items like drawers are located within reachable distance for easy access during breaks throughout shifts, because being able to move around often helps prevent stiffness from building up throughout entire days spent sitting down doing similar tasks repeatedly without movement breaks between them (for instance, writing emails).
Practice deep breathing
Breathing is a natural process that keeps us alive and functioning, but many people don’t breathe properly due to stress, anxiety or bad habits like smoking or chewing tobacco. It’s also easy to forget how to breathe properly if you don’t focus on it all the time!
To begin breathing exercises:
Inhale through your nose for a count of five seconds.
Hold for a count of two seconds.
Exhale through your mouth for a count of eight seconds.
Related: 5 Easy Approaches to Exercising at the Office
Meditation is a great way to relax and relieve stress, improve your mental health, improve your physical health and relationships, and even improve your work. Here are some tips for meditating effectively:
Find a comfortable position for sitting to take a quick meditation break. You can sit in an upright chair with both feet on the floor or on a cushion cross-legged on the floor. Either way, ensure that you are comfortable enough to focus without having to adjust yourself throughout the duration of meditation.
Observe what you’re thinking about during each session of mediation — you might have thoughts about work or other tasks you need to accomplish later in the day; just let these pass through without judging them as good or bad. You’ll probably find that after several sessions of meditation (it’s best if this is done daily), these thoughts don’t bother you anymore, because they no longer hold as much significance in your life.
Take regular breaks during the day.
There are many ways to take a break during the day to get away from your desk. You can walk to the bathroom, or you can walk to the kitchen, or you can walk to the printer. You can also take a short break in order to go get coffee or water at your office’s coffee machine or water fountain. Even better, get some sun and Vitamin D by getting some fresh air while walking around the block. If you are able, look into a treadmill desk, or go down to the wellness center for a quick treadmill break.
Use reminder alarms to encourage stretching every hour or two
Use reminder alarms on your smart device to encourage you to do stretches every hour or two.
When the alarm goes off, stop whatever you are doing, and stretch. You can choose a different stretch each time.
Pay attention to pain as it builds during a stretch. If the pain becomes too great, stop stretching immediately! Pain is a warning sign that something is wrong, so if you experience pain while exercising, take it seriously. Pain can be a symptom of an underlying condition or even a serious problem that requires medical attention. This is especially true if the pain gets worse over time or interferes with your daily life.
Related: 6 Benefits of Unchaining Yourself From Your Desk to Take a Break Outside
A sedentary lifestyle can be harmful to your health, but small changes can make a big difference. Sitting for too long can cause weight gain, back pain and slouching, and it can also harm circulation, stress levels and muscle tone. Experts also suspect that sitting for too long may increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other conditions.
If you’re a sedentary professional, avoiding the physical effects of a sedentary lifestyle is not as difficult as you might think. The key is to start small and build up your routine overtime until it becomes second nature. If you want to be more active, start by taking short walks around your office or throughout the day. You could also try getting up from your desk at least once an hour and doing some stretches or deep breathing exercises to improve circulation and relieve stress. If your workplace has a team that champions the culture and hosts wellness challenges, register and get involved. Finding a few hours in your busy schedule to exercise every day may seem like a bother. However, if you’re committed to your health, it’s essential to make some changes.