About 13% of jobs in 2016 were classified as sedentary, meaning they required virtually no physical labor or movement. Sitting down for work all day might sound relaxing and easy. However, remaining seated and relatively motionless for too long can take a toll on one’s health just like too much exercise can. If you have a desk job, it’s critical that you understand its impact on your health and how to counteract its potential negative effects.

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Make the Most of Your Desk Job

If your sedentary lifestyle keeps you tied to your desk for most of the day, your options for getting in more movement may be limited. However, there are still a few habits you can implement for better health. Try incorporating these changes into your day:

  1. Rearrange your desk
  2. Spend more time moving
  3. Try working while standing
  4. Form better morning habits

1) Rearrange Your Desk

The position of everything on your desk affects your posture and, consequently, your physical comfort both at work and during time off. Make sure items you use frequently (your computer mouse, keyboard, etc.) are positioned close to you and at comfortable angles so you aren’t constantly reaching for what you need. Adjust your computer screens to be at your eye level to keep your neck straight. Talk on the phone with a headset instead of constantly holding it in place. Best of all, consider replacing some or all of your desk equipment with specialized ergonomic office items. From curved keyboards to chairs optimized for back support, there’s a wide selection of equipment available to encourage good posture and minimize discomfort.

2) Spend More Time Moving

A full workload may make this easier said than done, but it’s always possible to find time to move around during the day. Take phone calls while walking around the building or pacing the hallways. If it’s time for a meeting, see if your coworkers are willing to join you for a walking meeting. Consider keeping basic workout tools, like small weights or resistance bands, in your desk for a few reps during slow periods. Find creative ways to incorporate activity into your workday.

3) Try Working While Standing

If you have a standing desk (or can convince your boss to invest in one), try standing rather than sitting to work. While this won’t exactly contribute toward weight loss, it will help with your posture and help you stay more alert than staying seated for hours. Some office workers may also pair a standing desk with a treadmill to ensure they’re always moving at least a little. However, if you choose this route, make sure to take breaks from walking or at least keep the treadmill at a reasonable speed to avoid overexerting yourself.

4) Form Better Morning Habits

Finally, remember that your day is often determined by your actions early in the morning. Start your day off on the right foot with a brisk walk or quick workout session before you leave for the office, or even consider walking or biking to work if you live close enough. Park further away from the building than usual and walk the extra distance. Take the stairs to your office instead of the elevator. Find ways to get some extra movement in before your day truly starts.

Pay Attention to Your Health

Your job is unquestionably important to maintaining your quality of life. However, your health should always be a higher priority. Whether you spread physical activity throughout the day in short breaks or get it all in over your lunch break, find ways to stay active and maintain good health even in a sedentary job.

Contact us to learn more about maintaining proper health and wellbeing.

Dr Abbas Jafri MD