Staying healthy in the office environment is a monumental challenge. It’s not unusual for the office worker to remain at his/her desk for a solid 13 hour spell, arising only for a hit of drowsiness-neutralising caffeine and/or to plunder the vending machine. Our poor bodies weren’t designed to be sat slouched and motionless for half a day, and funnily enough, they tend to complain to us in funny ways! Back pain is the most frequent cause of people taking long term absence from the office, with a supposed 15 million work days lost to it in the UK, giving rise to some serious unpleasantness for the poor sufferer! Some is stress related, but a degree is down to joint sprain, muscle spasm, poor posture, immobility and wear-and-tear. This post is about how to stay mobile at the office and care for your body properly, supplemented with a little ‘Snack Smarter’ section, to get you through your day satisfied and healthy!
There’s little we can do to reverse the natural wear and tear on our joints, but there are a few things we can do about the other components (sprain, spasm, posture and mobility). Contrary to the often-encountered opinion that I frolic solely in sunny parks and sandy beaches, I can reveal that I have in fact worked in office environments in the past; I know the struggle to stay fit and healthy is real, so I always took the below 3 components as seriously as was practically possible:
MAXIMISE MOBILITY; Essentially, I’d advocate regular stretching in as much depth as possible (my preferred stretch sequence below) along with regular walking breaks to encourage a regular change in position, as well as some motor locomotion!
SIT UP STRAIGHT; Posture makes such a difference. Much as the ocean waves erode the cliff face, so too does the sedentary hunched posture go to gradually undermine your skeleton! Focus on chair type & height, seating posture, as well as the screen & mouse position. This strays into the realm of serious professional domain, so I’d suggest checking into the NHS dedicated microsite HERE.
FULL BODY; Regular exercise and weight training as well as a wholistic focus on the core.
My stretching routine looks as follows. You can integrate as many of them as is realistically possible, within the context of drawing puzzling glances from colleagues as you dispatch a Cobra stretch…