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How do you stay healthy during working hours?

If you work in an office, chances are that you need to be in front of a screen to do your job. Traditionally this has resulted in long periods of sitting and not much movement. But there are ways to stay active and healthy during a working day, without compromising your productivity. In this article LINAK shares our thoughts on how to stay healthy while doing your job.

People walking

We spend a large part of our day in the office. If we want to have a healthy lifestyle, it is important that we also consider what we can do to stay healthy and keep active during working hours. This will not only benefit you and your body, but also your employer. A healthy employee is a true asset to the company.

Whether you are working from home or in an office, there are various initiatives you could implement in your working day. Of course, we differ as humans – what works for some might not work for others. So take what you can use to improve your working day, and leave the rest.

 

Being active while working

For greater clarity on this subject, we interviewed Professor David Dunstan. He is Head of the Physical Activity Laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, and so he knows a lot about the benefits of being active. As he points out: “Research has shown that being active throughout the working day compared to being mainly seated is more optimal for many of the body’s regulatory processes. This includes increases in blood flow throughout the body, including the brain, increased blood glucose clearance etc.”.

But is it possible to achieve these benefits while working? According to David Dunstan it is: “Our research consistently shows that having a height-adjustable workstation is a key element to reduce sitting time throughout the working day. An important factor here is that the height-adjustable workstation provides workers with the choice of working in a seated or standing position. Frequently changing postures between sitting and standing is the key”.

People standing and sitting at desk

But getting on your feet every once in a while can be hard to remember when you are buried in work. However, a study conducted for LINAK shows an increase in standing time at the desk when people get reminders to get up. That is why we have created a free app for Windows, iOS and Android to let you know when you have been sitting down for too long.

Standing is good, but according to David Dunstan, movement is better and moving faster is best. But is this even possible while working? Yes, consider taking a walk during your lunch break, move around while being on the phone, going to the water station furthest away or turning a meeting into a walk-and-talk. Movement can be integrated into your working day if you use your creativity.

 

Ergonomics is important

Paying attention to your ergonomics is also essential to prevent pain and discomfort while working.

Make sure that your desk and chair are set to a height that fits your body and that you keep a good posture. Your arms need to rest comfortably on the desk, your feet firmly placed on the floor and your back supported.

Do not worry. You cannot sit or stand in a perfect position all day – variation is key. Making small changes and adjustments to your position regularly is the best thing you can do. The distance to and height of your monitor is also worth checking. When reaching out your arms straight in front of you, your fingertips should only just be able to touch the monitor and the first line of text document.

Woman showing right ergonomics at home office
 
 

Stay productive – take breaks

To stay productive, you need breaks – no one can be 100% focused in front of a screen for an entire working day. Your eyes will love you for looking away from the screen and your mind needs time off to relax and recharge. Often the break does not have to last more than a few minutes for you to be able to return with fresh eyes and renewed energy.

Utilise the breaks to add more activity – go for a quick walk around the building, chat to your colleagues, fill up your coffee cup or do some small stretches and exercises. Loosening tense muscles can brighten your mind and boost your energy – try out our 10 quick exercises for neck and shoulders.

 

Listen to your body and mind

When fully focused on a task, it can be easy to ignore the signals your body is sending you. But it is important to listen if you want to stay focused. Keep water within eyesight, so that you naturally take a sip every now and then. Coffee and tea are also a good hydration source, but water should be the majority of what you drink.

Feeling hungry is also not to be ignored for too long. Your body needs energy to perform your tasks and do your job. It is okay to feel hungry before lunch and when the afternoon slump kicks in – prepare healthy snacks you can eat without feeling guilty.

Healthy snacks
 

Last but not least, act on it if you feel stressed, and if you feel like moving, get up and move. Most importantly, accept that you are not a machine – some days are better than others, and that is okay.

 
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