Ways to Stay Healthy While Working from a Desk

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Want to stay healthy while working from your desk? Here are some easy tips that you can start following today!

Do your back and wrists constantly ache? Are your eyes feeling strained? According to Statistics Canada, 32% of Canadians worked from home in January 2021. This means more people are sitting hunched over their computers than ever before. Whether you’re working at the office or from your home, it’s time to discover how you can balance your health and productivity.

Tip #1: Have a Designated Work Area

How many times have you found yourself working in your bed? According to the Cleveland Clinic, using your bedroom as an office will hurt your productivity and your posture. Your environment will dictate how successful you will be! When you have an area designated for work, you will help your brain know it’s time for business. You will have more time to focus when everything you need is in one space. You won’t be tempted to nap, eat, or check your social media.

Consider picking a spot in your house that is quiet, close to a window, and free from distractions. You’ll be getting work done faster than you know it!

Vadim Sherbakov, Unsplash

Tip #2: Try a Standing Desk

Sitting for long periods has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, deep-vein thrombosis, and type 2 diabetes. Harvard Health Publishing states that when your largest muscles are relaxed for too long, they don’t get enough glucose. Glucose needs to be sent to different cells in your body from your blood to supply them with the energy they need.

To help lower your chronic disease risks and get your glucose flowing, try using a standing desk instead of sitting down. Start by standing for thirty minutes, and then take a walk around your home or office. This can help you decrease your chances of having foot and leg pain from standing too long.

The American College of Healthcare Sciences suggests using a dresser high enough to work while standing for a more affordable alternative. This way, you can avoid the price and hassle of getting rid of your old desk and putting together a new one.

TheStandingDesk, Unsplash

Tip #3: Make Sure Your Chair is Comfortable

Working from your desk can come with problems such as slouching and lower back pain. Selecting the right chair means feeling comfortable and less tired throughout the day. When you put in the time to research different ergonomic office chairs, it will pay off in the future when you have less back pain and feel more productive! Aim to buy a chair that has armrests, breathable fabric, and lumbar support.

Lisa, Pexels

Tip #4: Move Around All-Day

Sitting has been said to be the new smoking. A great way to remember to move your body throughout the day is to set an alarm every thirty minutes. Walk or stretch for about ten minutes before going back to work at your desk. This can help loosen the tension in your muscles and gets your glucose moving throughout your bloodstream. You’ll also feel more refreshed and your body will thank you by the end of the day! Doing so may also reduce anxiety, improve overall mood, and improve posture.

Alexander Suhorucov, Pexels

Tip #5: Cook Meals at Home

How often do you find yourself too stressed and tired to cook dinner? Additionally, relying on delivery services has become more common during the pandemic. According to CTV News, 63.8% of Canadians used online delivery services halfway through 2020. Cooking your meals at home can increase your intake of nutritious foods, saving you money and allowing you to bond with family and friends.

A great way to start planning meals is to sit down at the beginning of the week and write down each meal you will be preparing. Next, write down all the ingredients you need. And after you go grocery shopping, you will be ready for the entire week!

Sarah Chai, Pexels

Tip #6: Keep Healthy Snacks Close By

When you’re hungry, it can be easy to reach for cookies or your favourite chips. Snacking on these is fine in moderation, but it’s also a good idea to keep some nutrient-packed choices nearby. Consider having some carrots and hummus, apples and peanut butter, or a banana. This can help you reach your daily intake of fruits and vegetables, five to nine servings a day. One serving is about one cup of raw fruits or vegetables or half a cup when cooked.

Pick healthy snacks that you find delicious and easy to make. You will feel satisfied between meals, and you’ll be in a better mood!

Sheri Silver, Unsplash

Tip #7: Stay Hydrated

When was the last time you sipped your water? Time can pass by quickly when you’re sitting at your desk all day, which means it’s necessary to keep water close by! Dietitians of Canada advise checking your recommended daily water intake based on your age, gender, and physical activity levels.

Staying hydrated helps to maintain your body temperature and blood pressure while moving waste and nutrients through your body. Aim to avoid sugary drinks and limit your caffeine intake to three cups a day. Keep your water bottle close to your desk as a reminder to drink throughout the day. Aim to make water your first choice of beverage! You will feel more alert and clear-headed.

Mikey Harris, Unsplash

Tip #8: Exercise Every Day

Staying healthy while working from your desk can be achievable when you make room for exercise. Try working out at the same time every day, such as in the morning before you start work. Choosing the same time can help you fit exercise into your routine and turn it into a habit. You can start with five or ten minutes a day and then increase your workout to at least thirty minutes a day.

Regular physical activity lowers blood pressure, strengthens your bones, and lowers your risk for type 2 diabetes. Consider taking live fitness classes; this will help you feel motivated and give you a reason to be on time!

Karolina Grabowska, Pexels

Tip #9: Go Outdoors and Soak Up the Vitamin D

If you’re working in an office, you may only see the sun during your morning and afternoon commute or while you’re looking out your window. If you work from home, you may be getting even less sunlight!

Why should you soak up the sun? Vitamin D helps strengthen your bones by helping your body better absorb calcium from your diet. As stated by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, the sun is an essential source of vitamin D. The amount of sun you need daily depends on your age, skin pigmentation, and the clothes you wear. Remember to wear sunscreen and avoid staying in the sun for prolonged periods as this can increase your risk for skin cancers such as melanoma. Getting small amounts of sunshine throughout the day can help brighten your mood and keep your bones strong and healthy. It can also give you a reason to take a break and go for a walk!

Vitamin D can also be obtained from foods such as egg yolks, salmon, and tuna.

Sara Kurfeß, Unsplash

Take-Home Message

Working from your desk can be both healthy and beneficial when following these tips! It’s important to start slow and always take small steps when creating new habits. Do what is best for you and always listen to what your body is telling you throughout the day.

Consider reaching out to our health care professionals at 360Care if you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure on which tip to start with!

References:

Dietitians of Canada. “Facts On Fluids – How To Stay Hydrated”. Unlockfood. 8 July, 2021, https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/articles/water/facts-on-fluids-how-to-stay-hydrated.aspx.

MacLeod, M. “New Normal: The year in takeout trends as restaurants face a reckoning”. CTV News. 1 January, 2021, https://www.ctvnews.ca/lifestyle/new-normal-the-year-in-takeout-trends-as-restaurants-face-a-reckoning-1.5231981

“Vitamin D Fact Sheet”. Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. 1 November, 2018, https://mssociety.ca/library/document/38cuveX9sSrF0QEZ1DfOMUaBilKTyRJk/original.pdf

Robben, B. “Never Do Homework In Bed: 3 Reasons Why”. American College Of Healthcare Sciences. 1 October, 2016, https://achs.edu/blog/2016/10/01/never-do-homework-in-bed-3-reasons-why.

“The Dangers Of Sitting”. Harvard Health Publishing. 23 May, 2019, https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/the-dangers-of-sitting.

Tahsin M, and Morissette, R. “Working From Home: Productivity And Preferences.” Statistics Canada. 1 April, 2021, https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/45-28-0001/2021001/article/00012-eng.htm.

 “What To Know About Working From Your Bed”, Cleveland Clinic. 16 July, 2020, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/if-you-simply-must-work-from-bed-heres-what-to-consider.

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