Office work is injurious to your health.
If you spend eight hours a day sitting at a desk, your health will suffer, your fitness will suffer, and you may be heading to an early grave. In fact over a 20 year period you are 60% more likely to die than someone who leads an active life, (defined as a couple of hours physical activity a day). A sedentary lifestyle can kill you.
A deskbound, sedentary lifestyle means that you will be far more likely to suffer from all kinds of nasty illnesses, including; heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, cancer, type 2 diabetes, depression, dementia, insomnia, poor circulation, back pain, neck pain, brittle bones, arthritis, gout, obesity, stomach problems…
However, there are some fairly easy changes you can make to your deskbound lifestyle to make up for the fact that for eight hours a day you’re mostly a potato. All you really need is a little bit of self-discipline, and you could transform your life by following some, (or all), of these simple suggestions.
- Use the stairs instead of the lift, (elevator). It’s far better for your health, elevators are full of germs, and I got trapped in a full elevator, which isn’t fun.
- Stand up at your desk. Don’t worry what others in the office think, stand up whenever you’re not actually typing on your screen. Anyway, I always used to stand while making phone calls ~ it adds empowerment to your voice. Stand on one leg, shift your weight, lift yourself on your toes and rock back on your heels.
- Take a five-minute break every hour just to walk around the office, make a coffee, go to the bathroom.
- Clean your desk and tidy your environment. The chances are that your desk has more germs on it than a toilet seat. A messy desk and your immediate environs makes you feel stressed ~ and you will be judged on your workspace. Remember, a tidy desk is a happy desk, and a happy desk is an efficient desk.
- Avoid stress by being organised ~ you probably need to learn some effective time management skills, and I’ll write another post on just that topic.
- Don’t eat or drink to relieve stress. Don’t snack on sweet stuffs, you may get bowel cancer. You aren’t actually hungry, you’re just stuffing your face because it makes you feel a little better for a little while. Emotional eating will just make you fat and unhealthy.
- Take a packed lunch to work ~ at least you’ll know what’s in it. Eating out every day, or buying your lunch from a fast food cart or take-out place is very bad for your health. You will get fat, you may get type 2 diabetes, you may get bowel cancer.
- Stay hydrated ~drink water, about a dozen cups, 3 litres, 6 pints or so, every day. Anything with caffeine in it is a diuretic and makes you lose water. Drinking a lot of water gives you a reminder to get up from your desk and walk to the bathroom.
- Get outside at lunchtime and during breaks ~ for a start your body needs the vitamin D you get from sunshine.
- Walk, don’t drive. Walking is one of the best exercises you can get, walking meditation is good, and driving is stressful. For Gods’ sakes, don’t take up power walking, it will make you look stupid.
- Move around whenever you can, and however you find it possible. Exercise at your desk. Stretch at your desk. Stand up at your desk and stretch. Go outside and stretch
- Practice breathing exercises and brief meditation.
- Don’t go to the pub / bar with colleagues after work. Drinking after work is dangerous and it marks you out as a drunkard / wastrel / slut / player.
- Go home and eat a healthy dinner. Your evening meal is very important for a healthy life.
- Don’t sit in front of the television in the evenings. Watching television is very bad for your mental and physical health, it also turns you into a boring vegetable. Under no circumstances sit in front of the television eating, drinking, and smoking ~ that will kill you.
- Ditch social media, (or most of it anyway). Facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc are all very bad for your health. They also turn your brain into mouldy old dough. Only narcissists use twitter, and only egotists use Facebook anyway.
- Get plenty of quality sleep. You may need between 7 to 9 hours good quality sleep a night. You can make up for sleep afterwards, but you cannot store sleep in advance. Get a routine, go to bed at the same time every night and get up and moving at the same time every morning.
- Have an outdoors active hobby / recreation at the weekends. Go for long walks, play golf, enjoy gardening, the list of outdoors things you can do at weekends is long, varied, and interesting.
Seems like a lot of fuss and effort, doesn’t it? OK, don’t bother to do any of this. Don’t make any changes to your sedentary life. Be a boring person, get sick, feel terrible, die before you should. With one exception I don’t give a damn if you follow any of this advice or not. It’s your life, such as it is, you are free to be a desk potato, if that’s what you really want.
But remember, if you just sit at your desk for eight hours a day, then you have to do a solid hour’s exercise in the evenings just to undo all the harm you’ve done to your body, mind, and spirit during the working day.
Get more exercise and have a nice life.