MAINTAINING A HEALTHY DESK-LIFE BALANCE

by Josie Perhus

The reality of working in an office environment in today’s world, is that we sit (all day).  Whether it’s at a desk, or in a meeting, lack of movement is a harsh reality for the office workers of today’s world. Spending the entire work day seated is not only unnatural and exhausting, it can be detrimental to our health and productivity. This has been a struggle for me throughout my own experience working in office environments, including my time at Sundog. I find myself getting exhausted from sitting, and I have had to find ways to get up and move around to improve my productivity and health.

In addition to feeling exhausted and unproductive, according to Mayo Clinic, a sedentary lifestyle can cause increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat, abnormal cholesterol levels, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and increased risk of cancer. Mayo conducted an analysis of thirteen different studies regarding sitting time and found that people who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had similar risks of dying to obesity and smoking.

Additional side effects of sitting include weakened muscles, posture problems, and body pain. From my own experience, it’s not uncommon to have a sore neck or back from sitting at a computer all day, as well as headaches, fatigue, and stiff muscles. Fortunately, from my experience and a little bit of extra research, I’ve found that there are a number of ways to mitigate these effects, prevent more serious problems, and keep up a healthy lifestyle at work.  

Here are some tips for staying healthy and active at the office:

  1. Move while you meet. Rather than meeting in a conference room, go for a walk while you meet when technology isn’t needed. If you have to meet in a conference room, make it a standing meeting.
  2. Take a break. Keep track of how long you’ve been sitting and make sure to get up and move around every 30 minutes to an hour. It’s easy to get sucked into a project and let three or four hours pass without moving, but taking a break to move around and stretch out is a great way to refuel your energy and give your mind and body a much needed break.
  3. Hydrate. One way to make sure you’re getting up throughout the day is to drink a lot of water. If you’re always drinking water, then you’ll need to get up to use the restroom and refill your water bottle. This helps to keep you hydrated, and serves as a natural reminder to get up and walk around.
  4. Take the stairs. If you’re able to forgo the elevator, taking the stairs can be a great way to warm up your body and get your legs moving during the day. By making this a lifestyle, you’ll benefit your body and reduce the harmful effects of sitting all day.
  5. Sit up straight. When you do have to sit at your desk, make sure you keep good posture throughout the day. This is especially important if you find yourself getting a sore neck or back from sitting during the day.

Your physical and mental health can be greatly affected by sitting everyday at the office. By taking this seriously and taking action, you can improve your health, happiness, and productivity. I have been working on this lately during my time at Sundog, and I encourage you to take a look at your own desk-life balance!

 

Josie Perhus

Insights Analyst Intern