Health Tips for Desk Junkies

10 Ways to Get Healthy While Working at Your Desk

by Elizabeth Drolet

  • July 7, 2022

woman-at-computer

Brains are important, but they need a quality place to call home.

Summertime is here, and it’s the perfect season to get more serious about your health. For technologists spending a majority of time at their desks, it can be challenging to squeeze in healthy habits during the busy work day.

However, improving your well-being is a worthwhile investment. Healthier choices are not only good for the waistline but can significantly boost your immunity, and improve your focus, productivity, happiness, and resilience to stress.

Here are 10 small changes (you can make this week) that fit your work schedule and will boost your life!

Reduce Sugar and Salt 

As it turns out, you really are what you eat. Therefore, eating foods that fuel your body and brain is essential to your wellbeing. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), nutritious foods are considered whole grains, low-fat dairy products, nuts, poultry, lean meats, fish, fruits, and vegetables. The NHLBI advocates limiting foods high in saturated fat, i.e., fatty cuts of meat and trans fat, such as foods that are processed or foods that have high salt and sugar content.

Keep Healthy Snacks Nearby 

Don’t ruin your health goals by devouring a sugary snack while trying to make a deadline. Instead, put down the doughnut and opt for a quick and easy protein that will sustain energy levels throughout the day. Nuts, popcorn, string cheese, and Greek yogurt are excellent options. Here are an additional 21 Healthy Snacks for People Always Busy to get you started. 

water

Drink More Water

Staying hydrated is especially vital when temperatures are soaring outside. Keep a water bottle at your desk and track your daily water intake. Four to six cups are the average recommendation, but knowing what is suitable for your body is more important. Check with your doctor to determine the correct amount. Hate drinking water? Flavor your water with a water enhancer, available at any grocery store.

Water Benefits: (according to Harvard Medical School).

  • carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells
  • flush bacteria from your bladder
  • aid digestion
  • prevent constipation
  • normalize blood pressure
  • cushion joints
  • protect organs and tissues
  • regulate body temperature
  • maintain electrolyte (sodium) balance

Take A Break

That big project you have been working on for the last week has taken its toll. You can feel the stress starting to pulse into your shoulders as your eyes blur in front of the screen. There is a reason we had recess as children. Stopping and taking a break when you feel stuck or uninspired can improve your productivity, focus, mental resilience, creativity, and overall well-being. Furthermore, studies have found that employees who don't take breaks often deal with chronic stress, leading to job burnout. The most productive people work for 52 minutes and take a break for 17 minutes, according to the time-tracking app, Desktime and hourly breaks are advised by a study by the University of Illinois.

  • Friendly tip: Set a timer for different increments throughout the day to take a quick walk outside or do mini exercises by your desk. Even small breaks that last only a few minutes can create monumental shifts. 

2022-desk-health

Fit in Movement Wherever Possible

The experts agree that even if you work out, moving throughout the day is crucial to preventing illness and disease. The medical community has been warning us for decades about living a mostly sedentary lifestyle. Check out your daily schedule and ask yourself where can you fit in additional steps or insert activity. For example, can you take the stairs instead of the elevator? Can you stand at your desk instead of sitting? Try alternating sitting and standing throughout the day. Can you walk to do errands instead of driving? Can you take a walking meeting outside instead of in the office? It only takes 30 seconds to stretch and touch your toes. Here are 30 Office Exercises to reference. Get moving! 

Get that App!

Indulge in your passion for gadgets and technology by utilizing helpful fitness tools. Monitor your health goals and set reminders to move by purchasing devices like an Apple Watch or a FitBit. There are also many beneficial mindful apps to help with stress management, like Calm or Headspace.

Ask a Colleague for Accountability

Creating a community is an excellent way to hold yourself accountable and meet new friends! Ask your fellow desk junkies how they stay healthy or get them involved with your new goals.

Maybe you can align your “mini-breaks” or become virtual workout pals at the gym. Consider maintaining weekly or daily check-ins. Then, celebrate together when fitness milestones are met! 

posture

Practice your Posture

The digital age is negatively affecting our posture, causing back and neck pain. Studies show sitting at a desk all day can be extraordinarily harmful; "sitting has even been called our generation's smoking." Here are "4 Office Posture Exercises" to do right from your desk to improve your posture.

Do Breathwork for Stress

A poor immune system, lethargy, headaches, and digestive problems can all be caused by stress. Breathwork can be a powerful strategy for relieving stress. So take a breather with these easy breathing exercises. 

Implement a Weekly "Schedule Sunday"

Fail to plan and plan to fail. Block out a time on Sunday evenings to schedule physical activity throughout the week and do nutritious meal prep that fits your dietary needs.

Did you know that NANOG has Community Forums? Join the "Health Tips for Desk Junkies" forum today.

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Elizabeth Drolet

Elizabeth Drolet is NANOG's Multimedia Story Producer

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