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Let’s make one thing clear: working eight hours a day (or more!) with minimal movement just isn’t healthy. It isn’t! It leads to symptoms like back and eye pain, muscle twitching, and in the long-term, can lead to severe health issues.
In this fast-paced, modern life, many people struggle to keep their health at an optimal level while working 8 plus hours a day. So, to make this struggle a bit easier, we are going to name all the ways you can stay healthy if you work at a computer at least 8-10 hours a day.
But, before we move into providing tips, let’s stop for a minute and discuss working at a computer for an extended period.
What sitting for long periods do to our body?
The first thing you need to know is that if you are experiencing some health issues caused by spending too much time sitting at a desk, you are not the only one. The second thing you need to know is that the lack of movement can do some severe damage to your overall health.
According to an article on the Mayo Clinic website, research shows that sitting for long periods leads to obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol levels. This means you are unconsciously raising your chances of getting cardiovascular disease or even cancer in the long term. Not to mention, multiple studies have shown that sitting for more than eight hours per day increases the risk of dying, which is similar to the risk of dying from smoking or obesity.
In addition to physical problems, sitting at a desk for a third of a day can lead to psychological issues. As WebMD states, spending too much time in front of a screen leads to social anxiety, as a result of not spending enough time with your loved ones. This type of anxiety often causes insomnia, which then leads to even more stress.
As you can see, sitting for 8 plus hours per day does some severe harm to your whole body. But, fear not. Now you know that back pain is one of the least distressing symptoms you can experience, we are sure you are ready to do something about it and change your mindset.
Here then, are some tips on how to stay healthy if you work at a computer all day:
Morning Walk to Work
One of the best tips we can give you to stay healthy if you work at a computer all day is to do some morning walk on your way to work.
If you live just a few blocks from the office, it is always a good idea to take a walk to work. We are aware that this tip requires you to get up earlier in the morning, but remember ー this tip can make a huge difference for your health condition. It takes about 30 days for a body to adjust and adapt to new habits, so after only a month, you will start to feel better and less tired.
But, what happens if you live more than a few blocks from work? Well, you are probably going to drive there or take a bus. Nevertheless, that is no excuse to skip on some morning walk.
So, how are you going to make sure you do the walk? It’s pretty simple. Park block away from your office instead of utilizing company parking. If you are taking a bus, get off a couple stops before you would typically do so. Practice these tips, and your body will feel more energized and awake after a week or so.
Walk Around the Office
Did you think morning walk was enough exercise for the day? Think again!
One of the most important tips we can give you to stay healthy if you work at a computer all day is to get up and move around.
When it comes to walking around the office, we don’t mean just getting up walking around like a lunatic. This would probably make your coworkers worry about you, and even a bit scared.
We are talking about getting up when you have a private call, when you are thirsty and want to get a glass of water, or when you are in the mood to talk to your closest colleagues. You would be surprised at how many situations you could get up!
But, why is it so important to walk around and mingle during these eight hours (or more)? Well, according to a post published on Thriveglobal.com, you should get up every 60 or 90 minutes if you want to lower the chance of dying prematurely. We are aware that this statement may be a bit too harsh, but it is the truth, especially in the case of middle-aged adults.
A study published on Annals.org, which was conducted on almost 8,000 black and white adults over 45 years old, showed that for 4 years, 340 participants died. The study showed that these participants sat for long periods without getting up. As the study suggested, it is highly recommended to interrupt sedentary time, because by doing so, you are reducing the risk of dying prematurely.
Did we mention using the stairs instead of an elevator? Well, this tip is an obvious one!
If you want to boost your health levels, we would suggest you do some office workout. However, that doesn’t mean we recommend you take out your yoga mat and start doing Sun salutation. Just the opposite – there is no need to take extreme measures and do a hardcore workout (which will probably get you fired!). All you need is 5-10 minutes of your time.
For ideas on what exercises you can do, be sure to check out this article on Verywellfit.com. The best part of doing these exercises is that you don’t even have to get up from your desk to do them.
There is a way to stay healthy if you work at a computer all day, but you have to be willing to make a change to do so.
Bonus tip: If even after doing all these steps, you still feel pain in your lumbar section, it might be a good idea to treat yourself to a massage. A massage can reduce your stress level and muscle tension, which will instantly make you feel better.
Did you know that staring at a screen for an extended period of time can change the structure of your tears? No wonder your eyes hurt!
According to a post published on Scientificamerican.com, a study conducted on 96 Japanese workers showed that the ones who spent 8 hours behind the desk had lower levels of mucin 5AC, a protein credited for tear stickiness and an even spread across the eye. The good news is that this “damage” is not permanent, and your protein level rises as soon as your eyes are well-rested.
So, to make sure your eyes stay healthy if you work at a computer, all you need to do is blink more often and take 5-minute breaks every 15 minutes or so. Not only will your eye muscle relax, but you will also feel more awake and productive after the break.
Bonus tip: If you frequently suffer from burning eyes, blurred vision and headaches, you may be affected by computer vision syndrome. To minimize these symptoms, be sure to use eye lubricants often.
Also, during work, switch the focus of your view by doing a simple “eye workout” – look at a screen and then look out the window or at some of your co-workers. Your eyes will be thankful.
Healthy Gut, Healthy Life
The one aspect you most definitely need to pay attention to stay healthy if you work at a computer all day is to take into account what you put in your body. Truth be told, working for 8 plus hours can make this step a bit difficult, especially if your coworkers want to order some Taco Bell or chipotle for lunch. Additionally, there’s always a vending machine, which is, undoubtedly, your number one enemy.
Why does it matter so much what diet you are following?
As WebMD states, your health is connected to (and if we may even say dependent on) the bacteria that is in your gut. More precisely, there are up to 500 groups of bacteria that are credited for the health of your body. When the bacteria balance gets disturbed, that’s when your metabolism is not operating at an optimal level, and you start to get sick.
Some of the most common diseases that can occur when microbiota is not maintained are diabetes, high blood sugar, obesity, heart disease, and, in some cases, cancer. That is why you need to take care of your gut. You can only do it by following a healthy diet plan.
So, what we would suggest is to be prepared when hunger takes over. Eating healthy snacks doesn’t mean you should eat tasteless food that won’t keep you full. Just the opposite – you are going to eat some delicious meals that will prepare your stomach for dinner time.
If you don’t have a sweet tooth, we would suggest you opt for a combination of carrots and hummus. This is by far the most popular healthy work snack. However, if you need something to raise your blood sugar level, apples and peanut butter can help. If you are interested in getting some more ideas on what healthy snacks you can easily prepare, be sure to check out this post on Self.com.
Drinking Enough Water
If you asked us what liquid or food we would consider as the elixir of eternal life, we would, undoubtedly, mention water.
But, how can this clear, tasteless liquid be so beneficial and how can it help you stay healthy if you work at a computer all day?
Well, in the first instance, your body consists of 60% water. Additionally, your blood is 90% water, which is why there are so many benefits to drinking water. However, we are only interested in these three:
- keeping the brain healthy
- delivering oxygen throughout your body
- keeping your digestive system healthy
The first benefit is connected to the previously mentioned statement. Your blood is responsible for transferring oxygen throughout the body. Because the blood consists of 90% water, drinking enough water can only improve the blood flow.
Did you know that not drinking enough water can change your brain structure and, therefore, have an impact on thinking and how well you can concentrate? Yes, you have read that right. So, if you are having difficulty concentrating at work, be sure to ask yourself whether you have drunk enough water that day.
The last benefit we mentioned is connected to the previously mentioned tip – having a healthy gut. Keeping your digestive system is imperative if you want to maintain your overall health, especially if you work at a computer all day. Not to mention, water can flush all the gut toxins out.
So, how much water should you drink? Well, although you always hear you should drink 8 glasses of water a day, we would advise you to adjust this number according to your weight. As WebMD states, try to drink up to an ounce per every pound you weigh.
What About a Cup of Morning Coffee?
No doubt drinking coffee comes with a lot of benefits. Thanks to the fact that it is high in antioxidants, it lowers the risk of getting a liver disease and prevents type 2 diabetes. We can honestly mention coffee as one of the best and most delicious beverages out there. However, considering that it is a stimulant, we have some concerns.
As you have may have experienced first hand, coffee is addictive, and its withdrawal can lead to some severe symptoms, like headaches and exhaustion. According to a 2014 study that wanted to show the empirical validation of coffee withdrawal symptoms, participants experienced headaches, fatigue, decreased energy and alertness, as well as some other body changes.
In addition to the coffee being addictive, we have one more concern to mention. This beverage tends to disrupt sleep, especially if you drink it in the afternoon. Not to say, drinking too much coffee can cause anxiety, and in some cases, panic attacks.
In the end, should you drink coffee? Well, the answer is yes. But, do it in moderation. One cup of coffee in the morning to wake and freshen you up is more than enough and will help you stay healthy if you work at a computer all day.
We don’t want to sound like prudes, but keeping your hands and desk clean is one of the most significant factors to consider to stay healthy if you work at a computer all day. How so?
Well, think about it. After you drove (or walked) to work, your hands, undoubtedly, got dirty. The next thing you do is sit at a desk and use your computer. Those bacteria you picked up on your way to work will end up all over your keyboard, mouse, even monitor. The real danger occurs when all that disgusting bacteria builds up over time, forming a microbe-friendly environment.
To stop this from happening, be sure to wash your hands before you sit down to your desk and wash them regularly, after every meal you ate working at your desk. Additionally, be sure to clean your entire working area. It doesn’t have to be a time-consuming cleaning ー an antibacterial wipe can do the job just fine.
Bonus tip: If you are too lazy to get up and wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer instead.
What Do You Do To Stay Healthy If You Work At A Computer All Day?
Making small improvements in your day-to-day life can make a difference and boost your health level, even if you spend 8 plus hours in the office.
Now that you’ve read all of our tips on how to stay healthy if you work at a computer all day, do you have anything you would like to add? What keeps you healthy while working? Be sure to share with us your advice in the comment section below.
Image credits: Pixabay.com
Last article update: 11/3/2019