The evidence is oft-repeated, hard to hear and fairly plain: sitting down too much may shorten your life. Unfortunately for those of us with 9 to 5 jobs, who don’t have the money for an extortionate standing desk, we’ve not got a lot of choice.
Still, being health conscious and holding down a steady job shouldn’t be mutually exclusive and they don’t have to be. Here are just a few ways you can ensure that spending Monday to Friday doesn’t shorten the number of Saturdays and Sundays you get to enjoy.
The Obvious Stuff
The most evident solution, but also the hardest one to contemplate when it involves getting up at 6am or lacing up when you’ve just spent a whole day at the office, is to exercise more. A Norwegian study indicates that an hour of exercise a day may be enough to counteract the strain of sitting down in the long term.
But how to manage it? Behavior specialist Susan Holmberg recommends mentally tying your workout to an existing part of your daily routine, for example by always putting on your running shoes after you brush your teeth.
It’s far easier to overcome the mental block against doing something if an action you already do becomes a cue for it and this easy brain hack might help you take the next step into achieving your goals.
You could also try using a reward to motivate good behaviour, such as allowing yourself to take a short break to play online games if you succeed in going on a run. So, whether that’s Pong or baccarat, you should always keep your brain engaged as a reward.
You can find a ranking of the best online casinos that accept the decentralized internet currency Ethereum here as an example of a game to reward yourself with.
In addition to one long stretch of exercise, it is important to keep moving as much as possible throughout the day.
Every two hours or so try to spend five minutes doing some kind of rapid movement, whether that means walking around the block or lifting a small handheld weight at your desk.
The advantage of a short, high intensity workout is that it avoids creating stress hormones, meaning you can still go back to work relaxed and ready to be productive.
Make Your Workspace Work For You
The average office is designed for efficiency rather than comfort, which unfortunately means many design features in your place of work might be putting unnecessary strain on your body.
If you’re on good terms with your HR department, you could consider asking for a more ergonomic workspace and, if you’re personally willing to spend your own money, you could buy a ball chair or a more discreet balance pad to go on top of your existing chair, making it more body safe. Such an item or addition has the advantage of keeping your core engaged throughout the day by forcing it to make small adjustments in order to balance.
Smaller things you can do involve fiddling with the brightness and position of your computer monitor. To keep your spine in a comfortable position, the center of your screen should be about four or five inches below and 20-30 inches away from your eyes.
The brightness of your screen should match the lighting of your office. If it’s too luminescent or, on the flip side, too dim, you could risk eye strain, which could lead to worsening eyesight in later life. If you have trouble sleeping, you may also want to make the colour temperature of your screen warmer as well, in order to block out the blue light that affects circadian rhythms. This can be done by downloading apps like F.lux, which turn on automatically when the sun sets.
Even these minor adjustments are enough to counteract the damage done by a 9-5 on your body, meaning that your weekends in the gym won’t be wasted after all.