While it is not always a walk in the park, there is a lot to love about working a desk job. When was the last time you had to worry about sunscreen at work or found yourself forced to work in the rain? Still, there are downsides to working behind a desk, one of them being that sitting still all day can be terrible for your health. If you want to make sure your IT desk job won’t see you suffering from heart problems and chronic pain conditions in a couple of decades, here are some tips to help you look after your health while at work.
1. Take Regular Breaks
As a general rule, the longer you stay sitting in one place, the bigger the toll doing so will take on your body. So make sure you take a short break at least once an hour to allow you to get up and stretch your legs a little bit. These breaks are good for your body and will enable you to get back to work feeling fresh afterward, which can help your productivity. They can also reduce eye strain.
2. Stay Hydrated
Keep tabs on how much water you drink at work and keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Dehydration puts unnecessary stress on your body, which can lead to adverse effects over the years. And being low on fluids can also impair your cognitive ability, making work feel harder and more stressful than it has to be. But, of course, no one wants that, especially when considering how bad stress is for your health.
The three most common types of chronic pain desk workers deal with are neck, back, and shoulder. However, you can limit the pain by adequately stretching those areas before, during, and after your work sessions. Stretching can help you release the tension you’ve accumulated throughout the day while boosting your body’s flexibility. It can also help you deal with the stress of being in one place for long periods, with more ease.
It is helpful to think of sitting behind your desk as something that stresses your body because it does. And being more flexible and doing functional strength training — especially for your core, shoulders, and neck — can help you sit still longer without feeling tired or sore.
4. Don’t Ignore Pains
Any nagging pains you feel as you work should be addressed, especially if you often feel pains in the same areas at the end of the workday. That’s because the recurring pain of today can evolve into the chronic pain of tomorrow. While over-the-counter medication and cannabis dispensary products can help mitigate short-term pain, the ultimate goal should be feeling no pain at all.
Achieving that can be tricky. But taking regular breaks and stretching can help. It can also be wise to invest in an ergonomic office chair or switch to a standing desk.
5. Embrace Pacing
The more steps you get each day, the better. Whether you are thinking, talking to a coworker, or just on the phone, keep an eye out for opportunities to pace around the office. That can help you get some steps in, and plenty of people find that pacing also helps them think and come up with ideas more easily.