One of the biggest killers in modern society is sedentary living. Technology has infiltrated our careers and social activity so much so, that it's seemingly impossible to function without it.
We're addicted to immediacy and information at our fingertips, and with that, comes lots of sitting and staring. Office workers: your eyes are potentially glued to a computer screen for a third of the day or a quarter of your week, if not more - and that's huge!
Killing time with a quirky article or two over lunch may seem harmless, but mindless scrolling is harming your health more than you realise. Achieve a happier, healthier, more productive you in 7 steps.
Ditch internal emails
If you're guilty of emailing colleagues that are sat just metres away, stop. Headlines like 'sitting is the new smoking' and 'sitting can kill you' are all true; prolonged sitting can lead to obesity, impact your posture and increase cholesterol levels.
According to Medical Billing & Coding, "people with sitting jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as people with standing jobs." Times have changed, and our need for speed is causing our health to suffer.
"People with sitting jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as people with standing jobs."
To make your work life healthier you need to be proactive and stop relying on technology as your only means of communication. Take the initiative and make the effort to go and speak to your work buddies directly.
As you type away furiously at your keyboard, chances are, the rest of your body isn't moving a great deal. No bother, you'll make up for it at the gym? If only!
According to Dr Stuart Biddle, Professor of Physical Activity & Health at Loughborough University, "even if you exercise for at least 30 minutes most days, you are still storing up health problems from being sedentary too much." For this reason, it's important that you make a conscious effort to be active around the office.
When you're in the zone and busily completing tasks, it's hard to tear yourself away from the screen. In which case, embrace deskercise! We're talking leg raises, desk twists, even tricep dips if your seat is sturdy enough. The more movement, the better.
Keep it casual
If the office dress code is strictly suits, this may be tricky. But wherever possible, try to keep your work wardrobe casual. What it may lack in professional graces, it makes up for in health benefits, agrees the American Council On Exercise. They claim that “wearing casual clothing every day for 50 weeks of work translates into burning an additional 125 calories per week and 6,250 calories per year," as you're more likely to get up and move around if you're wearing breathable, comfortable clothes and shoes.
Scrap bad snack habits
Boring, menial tasks leave us reaching for the chocolate and sweets to keep us engaged, causing you to pile on the pounds without even realising. To make your work life healthier, say no to mindless eating - rid your desk and drawers of tempting, calorific snacks and call it quits on comfort eating. Now we're not saying you have to cut out snacks completely; just ditch the refined sugars and processed snacks, and shop for healthier alternatives.
Popcorn is one of the best foods to have on hand if you get the munchies. Plain air-popped popcorn (skip the lashings of butter) is a low calorie snack, ready with B vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc. Simple food swaps can make the world of difference.
Get a window seat
If you're feeling tired, sluggish and not in the mood for work, it could be because you're in need of a little light in your life. In a study of "49 day-shift office workers - 22 in workplaces with windows and 27 in windowless workplaces," conducted by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; researchers discovered that those exposed to natural light in the workplace would sleep longer and more deeply at night, get more exercise, and on the whole, report of a better quality of life.
Those exposed to natural light in the workplace would sleep longer and more deeply at night, get more exercise, and on the whole, report of a better quality of life.
Seeking a little sunshine makes a massive difference to your mood. For a happier and healthier you, avoid having your lunch at your desk and get your vitamin D fix by soaking up some rays.
Clean up your act
If you can't see past your sky-high pile of post-it notes and week old coffee mugs that have a life of their own, it's time for a clean-up. Not only does it secretly influence the way your colleagues think of you (a survey of 1000 US workers made by Adecco found that 57 per cent of participants "admit they judge co-workers by how clean or dirty they keep their workspaces" with "half saying they have been “appalled” by how messy a colleagues’ office is and chalk it up to pure laziness," reports Forbes); but it impacts the quality of your work and performance too - messy desk, messy mind.
Chuck any unnecessary clutter in the bin and keep paperwork under control. Even organising your PC desktop can lift a weight off your shoulders. You'll be surprised what a quick clean-up can do to your productivity.
Buy a dog
Ever met a miserable dog owner? Thought not. If you're at a loss of how to boost office morale and promote a positive working environment, office pets are a legitimate solution.
Speaking to The Independent, Dr Wells of the British Journal of Health Psychology has research to support that having a four legged friend can 'buffer us from stress, lower cholesterol/blood pressure, and even help aid the recovery of serious illnesses such as heart attacks.' There's no such thing as Monday blues with an office pet around. Now, to persuade your boss.