Having a healthy workspace

I work in an office environment that’s dominated by desks and computers. Sadly this is typical of many people’s workplaces nowadays. So much is done using computers and so much of a person’s day is spent sat down.

OK this is great for productivity and I’m not saying we should throw our computers out the window and go back in time…but it’s really not conducive to a healthy lifestyle when the majority of your day is spent on your bum.

Not only that but the office environment seems to be a breeding ground for unhealthy snacks…the biscuits, the vending machines, the cakes (“because it’s Tuesday” <—love those days…). And the fact that to do any form of exercise you need to do it in your own time – what little of it is left after your work hours and commute.

I worked out I spent over 10 hours every day sat down. I was horrified. I run, I lift weights, I walk my dog, I walk at lunchtime…how am I still spending 10 hours a day sat down?? Two hour’s worth of commuting and then the time at work sat down in front of my laptop is how – and that’s not counting any sofa time in the evening. Last year I seemed to go from injury to injury with my running and I was desperate to do anything to stop this cycle. Amongst other things, I decided to create a healthier environment for myself at work. After all, I spend a good chunky of my life there.

I created my own standing desk. I used odd boxes from home (or around the office) to lift my laptop and monitors to the right height. It’s not perfect it works for me!

Standing desk (1)I currently dual-use a laptop and a computer (hence the second keyboard)

Since Christmas I stand at my desk from 9am until the end of the day (5pm or 6pm). Though after my lunchtime walk I sit down for lunch as a break (plus I make enough mess eating lunch sat down as it is…).

It’s not easy and it was certainly really hard work at the beginning. I had to keep sitting down for 30 seconds every so often to take a break. But now I’m a standing pro 😉 You do still have to make sure you have good posture though – no slouching!

IMG_1677

And yes, my work colleagues thought I was mental. They did seem curious and aware that sitting wasn’t a great thing to do all day but alas, none have followed suit…yet.

But there are other, perhaps less revolutionary, ways to turn your office into a more healthy place. Simplyhealth have a great article HERE on tips for being healthier at work, such as:

  • Have fruit and healthy snacks to hand
    This is a hard one but instead of having a communal biscuit tin, have a communal fruit bowl instead that everyone contributes too. When 4pm comes along I’m always fancying something sweet and tasty, but instead of that being a cake or biscuit I have an apple and a banana. I find it far more filling.
  • Take the stairs
    If you’re on the ground floor maybe try using the upstairs toilet (if possible). I tend to go to the loo so many times during the day because my bladder is the size of a walnut and I drink loads of water, so those extra steps help.
  • Organise group exercise
    It’s easier to exercise when you’re with other people who are motivated to exercise; it spurs you on. Perhaps start a lunchtime running club (runching!) or organise to go to Zumba together after work. Making it social really helps.

For more tips, see Simplyhealth’s article.

The thing is, you’re at work for a pretty long period of time every day, every week, every year. Yes this sucks but unless you’re a millionaire, that’s life. Making the experience a bit more healthy will do you big favours physically and mentally. Even if you exercise regularly if you’re sat down at work all day, not moving, eating rubbish then it’s pretty much like eating a McDonalds and ordering a Diet Coke. Being healthy is not just what you do in the gym after all!

How healthy is your work environment?

What do you snack on at work?

How long do you sit every day?

 

**Full Disclosure: Simplyhealth asked me to write an article regarding a healthy workspace with links to their website. The links are not affiliated but I will receive a small related gift in return.**

9 thoughts on “Having a healthy workspace

  1. I sit a LOT a day- PhD life! I did try a standing desk but the angle of a non-proper stand desk was giving me wrist pain and some back pain. Also I read always standing isn’t actually great either, and swapping between the two is best. One of the professors in our dept has both and just moves a laptop.

    I do squats every hour to keep moving!
    Scallywag recently posted…Failure on the Limone Sul Garda Vertical KilometerMy Profile

  2. I sit for WAY too long each day, like around 90% of when I am awake and it is something I really want to change. I have tried putting my laptop on the ironing board and standing up to work, but my back really doesn’t cope well. I was in a car accident when I was 10 and seriously damaged my back, so I think that is contributing to it. I am trying to stand up and walk around more during the day though.
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…Comment on Summer Bucket List by DanniiMy Profile

  3. Argh I do get so annoyed with my sitting! I try and take little steps like standing on the tube/bus instead of nabbing a seat – though when it’s rush hour sitting is the best option to avoid being face to face with a smelly stranger.
    More and more coffee shops (aka my offices) have high bars now, I need to work on standing at these instead of sitting on a stool I think…
    Pip {Cherries & Chisme} recently posted…Rewind: JuneMy Profile

  4. Some great tips there.
    I move about a lot when I am teaching because the children don’t sit for long, so I walk quite a bit (or stand) in the day. But I have one day out of class and I tend to sit all day for that. Recently some of us have been going on a short walk at lunch time, but that is not easy to do because lunch time is usually time to clear up from the morning, set up for the afternoon and hopefully find 15 mins to eat your lunch, so often we don’t have time.
    I don’t have a break time either (the older children do) so I don’t get to go to the staffroom at break which is when the biscuits might tempt me.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…June running and missing things by a minute (or more)My Profile

    • You’d think being a teacher you get so much time to have breaks etc. but in reality it just isn’t true. Just because the children aren’t in the classroom doesn’t mean you’re not busy 🙁

  5. Most of my teaching time (4-5 hours each day) is spent moving around the classroom, but the same amount of time again is spent at my desk marking, planning or completing other admin tasks. Add in a 45 minute commute each way and I’m not actually very active at all apart from my running!
    I do actually have a computer at the front of my room which is connected to the projector which I could use as a standing desk as it is head height, but I never thought about using it this way before. I might see if I can start spending a little while after the school day getting some planning done from there instead.
    Mary recently posted…A school sports dayMy Profile

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