5 Ways to Stay Healthy While Working a Desk Job
It’s not uncommon to work at a desk five days a week with limited breaks. Millions of people do this every week! Unfortunately, working a desk job, or sitting for long hours on end, can have a negative toll on your health, both physically and mentally.
I mean, let’s face it, staring at a computer screen or paper all day, sitting at a desk, eating out of a vending machine are all aspects that can harm your health. People who spend too much of their day sitting with limited movement and food options have higher chances to develop conditions such as carpal tunnel, depression, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The blue light in your electronics mess with sleep. Sitting for too long can mess with muscle growth and cardiovascular activity. And eating out of a vending machine? This rarely (or never) will be your best option.
Unfortunately, it’s not always feasible to simply quit your job or get a different one. This can be discouraging but I promise, there are things you can do to reduce health risks and be an overall happier, healthier person.
Here are five easy ways to stay healthy even while sitting at a desk for nearly forty hours a week.
Be Aware of What Your Consume
First and foremost let’s tackle what you’re eating and drinking every day! Working long hours, then going home to take care of children, staying up late to clean, and filling your time with other necessities make it challenging to meal prep and think about your food and beverages. But if you want to live a healthier life, this is where you need to start!
👉 Drink More Water
We’ve written a few articles here at Clean Food Crush about the importance of drinking water and tips for staying hydrated. And there’s a reason we spend time on this! Water is essential to your health, so take a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go and drink at least one full glass in the morning, before lunch, and at the end of the day.
👉 Pack Your Lunch
Try to meal prep on the weekend for your weekday lunches with meals such as bento boxes or even leftovers from last night’s dinner. Adding veggies, fruit, and other healthy snacks will also help keep you from the company vending machine.
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👉 Say No to Office Snacks
Many offices have well-meaning workers bringing in donuts, bagels, cookies, and other snacks for their coworkers. Give them a simple “Thank you, but I will pass,” or “No thanks,” and enjoy one of your healthy snacks such as dried fruit or nuts instead. Making more nutritious choices every day will boost your mood and immune system.
👉 Avoid Dining Out
It’s best to avoid going out to restaurants whenever possible. Instead, have a simple meal at home or in the office or have your meetings somewhere else. If you do go out, try one of these tips to eat healthier while dining out.
👉 No Smoking
Certain habits are incredibly difficult to break, smoking being one of them. If you are currently smoking, try quitting. It will be one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
Be Active Whenever Possible
Next to your diet, your activity level can have the most impact on your overall health. Working a desk job doesn’t offer many opportunities to work out or get your body moving. But you do have options! Remember, you’re not GLUED to your desk. You’re allowed to move around.
👉 Ditch the Car
Walk or bike to work whenever possible! If you don’t live far from the office, you may be able to get daily exercises into your schedule during the commute. Or, if you live too far, try adding movement into your routine by getting off the bus or train several blocks earlier or parking further away.
👉 Take Breaks
This is a popular tip for a reason! It’s imperative to take plenty of breaks during the day to get your blood flowing. Try going for a walk, talking to friends, stretching, or simply going outside to get some fresh air.
Coworkers heading to the food truck? Save money and calories and ADD FLAVOR with these Sweet and Sour Chicken Meatballs and rice! #WINNING
👉 Skip the Elevator
Whenever possible, don’t take the elevator, escalator, or moving sidewalk. The stairs may seem like your enemy, but they are actually your best friend! You’ll find little decisions like this begin to add up.
👉 See Your Colleagues in Person
Have a question or need to talk to a coworker? Don’t send them an email. Make an effort to walk across the office and speak to them in person. Also, try doing meetings while standing or walking, if possible. Not only will this give you some exercise, but it can also be more time effective and inspire brighter, more creative thinking.
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Visit a Professional
I love to help you as much as I possibly can, but there are trained professionals who can make all the difference in your daily health routine with just one or a few meetings.
👉 Physical Therapist
A PT can help avoid neck pain and back problems by providing simple exercises you can do during your breaks, at your desk, or at home in the evenings or mornings. These stretches can relieve any tension in your muscles and joints.
👉 Chiropractor and Masseuse
Everyone can use a little adjusting every once in a while. Visit a local chiropractor if your back, hips, or honestly anything has been hurting you lately!
Similarly, a massage can relieve muscle aches and pains, especially if you see a well-trained professional who knows how to help problem areas. Massages can also help reduce stress, improve circulation, and increase joint mobility and flexibility.
👉 Doctor and Nutritionist
If you have any persistent pains or problems, it’s imperative to see your doctor. They can help with specific health worries and connect you with other helping professionals, such as nutritionists who help with diet. You may also benefit by joining our Challenge and using the meal plans.
Take a look at your surroundings! Do you have a comfortable chair? Any natural light? What do you listen to all day long? All of these things can affect your mental, emotional, and physical health.
👉 Change Your Chair
If you can, try changing your chair. Request something ergonomic, made for better posture easing your muscles. Also, see if replacing your chair with an exercise ball helps! You can get one for pretty cheap, and a physical therapist can advise different workouts or ways to sit to get the most benefits out of the exercise ball.
Standing while working can help improve your posture, circulation, and endurance. Maybe you only stand for an hour a day, but that can still make a huge difference!
Working extra early and craving some traditional breakfast but have no time! We’ve got you! These Chipotle Sausage Egg Muffins will have your mouth singing and your energy vibin all morning long!
👉 Clean Desk
Is your desk clean and organized? I know sometimes mine isn’t, but I always instantly feel much more productive any time I clean my office. Also, consider decorating your desk with fresh flowers, pictures of your family, and organizational tools.
Check your posture because odds are, it could be improved! Do you ever suddenly realize you’ve been hunched over for hours and then feel the world straighten when you sit up? I know I’ve done that! Good posture aids in better breathing, circulation, and digestion.
Music is a wonderful way to stay productive, healthy, and sane. So, try this if you get easily distracted with other conversations or need some white noise! There are many different playlists on platforms such as Spotify or Apple Music that you can search.
Make Time For Activities
This is probably the most challenging tip on the list, but doing so can have countless benefits. Life often feels like there’s not enough time to get everything done – and sometimes this is true. So, try to be sure your health is a top priority.
👉Wake Up Early
It’s easy to hit the snooze button on your alarm until five minutes before you have to leave, I know! But getting up after that first alarm gives you so much time to do yoga, go for a walk, or do a quick strength training exercise before heading to work. You may also need this extra time to pack a healthy lunch!
However, if you do begin getting up early, head to bed earlier as well so you’re still getting the necessary amount of sleep you need. After all, sleep is a vital part of living a healthy life, losing weight, building muscle, and improving your mood.
👉 Visit a Gym on Your Way Home
Pack a gym bag with a change of clothes and shoes, a protein snack, and some water and toss it in the back of your car! That way, you can go straight to a gym, pool, or track after work without going home first. With more preparation comes more likelihood that you’ll actually make the time for a post-work activity.
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👉 Workout At Night
Not every workout has to be an hour long at a gym ending with a puddle of sweat. In fact, sometimes it’s better and more plausible to do a simpler workout in the evening, such as a bodyweight workout with squats and pushups or a yoga routine while watching TV. You can also do this or go on walks with friends or family to get some socializing into your routine as well! But try not to do anything too strenuous within two hours of bedtime.
I hope one of these tips is helpful for you, whatever your work situation may be! Even working from home can make living a healthy lifestyle difficult, so you can still try to incorporate some of these tips into your daily schedule.
I’d love to hear from all you awesome CRUSHers! Do any of these tips seem doable or helpful? Do you have others that have been great for you? Let me know what you do to stay healthy in the comments!