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!
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!
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.
- 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.**