Work it out: six ways to a healthier nine-to-five you
For some of us, the Christmas break is over, and now it’s back to work. Here are six ways you can strive towards a better working you.
1. Become an active commuter
So, what can you do? Cycling or walking to work can be excellent options , but if this isn’t practical, try getting off the bus or train a few stops earlier and walking the rest of the way. Or, if you need to drive, make sure you take a walk or try and fit in some exercise during the day. Why not try having a walking meeting?
2. Go ergonomic
If you work at a desk, it’s important to have your workstation set up properly.
Try the following:
- Sit facing your computer with your monitor at least an arm’s length away and your eyes in line with the top third of the screen.
- When you type, keep your arms at right angles and wrists in line with your forearms.
- Keep your mouse close to your keyboard and support your arm on the desk when using it.
- Make sure your seat is properly adjusted and your backrest gives you good lumbar support.
- Keep your knees at right angles and make sure your feet are flat on the ground or on a footrest if your feet don’t reach the floor.
- Take regular breaks from your screen.
3. Work smarter
The Pomodoro Technique involves structuring your work in 25-minute sessions, each separated by a five-minute break (you set a timer to remind yourself). During the break, take a walk, meditate briefly, or do something to help you relax, such as abdominal breathing or some gentle stretching, then start again. The payoffs for taking regular breaks can include sometimes making it easier to focus on the task at hand and helping to relieve muscle fatigue and eyestrain.
4. Go easy on the caffeine
400mg a day of caffeine is generally considered an acceptable dose but your individual reaction will depend on a range of factors. A cup of instant coffee contains 60-100mg of caffeine, while espresso-based coffees contain 90-200mg This means two lattes could see you hitting your limit. So enjoy coffee in moderation.
5. Take a mini yoga break
Feeling stiff from sitting down? Try these two office yoga poses from the Health Plus Program at Vanderbilt University in the US (repeat each pose three to four times):
Sitting in your desk chair with feet shoulder width apart, lean forward, as if to touch your toes. Take a few deep breaths and hold for 10-30 seconds. Return to a seated upright position.
Standing at your desk with feet shoulder width apart, place both hands palms down on the desk with fingers pointing towards your body. Hold for 10-30 seconds.
Remember to work within any physical limitations – modify or skip positions that are too difficult or are painful.