Staying Healthy In The Office
It probably won’t come as a huge surprise to you that an office is not analogous to the environment human beings naturally evolved to inhabit. What you may not know, is that office life can actually take quite a toll on the wellbeing of our bodies. Aside from the obvious factors such as eating well and making sure you drink lots of water, here is a list of five simple things to help you stay healthy in the office that you may not have other-wise thought of.
Stand and Move Whenever Possible
As humans, we were designed to stand and move. Sitting in a chair is a resting position for us (and arguably, that’s not even a natural one compared to the flat-footed squat, but that’s another story) and therefore not designed to be the default position in which we spend most of our lives. Sitting down is even being described as the new smoking for our generation and according to researcher, Professor Steven Blair, sitting for six hours a day makes you 40 percent more likely to die within 15 years than someone who sits for less than three hours a day.
In fact, researches have linked sitting for long periods of time with a startling variety of health concerns, which include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Shockingly, too much sitting even increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
To combat this, while in the office try and think of as many ways as possible to increase the time you spend out of the chair. For example, stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch, if possible try a standing desk, walk laps around the office with co-workers instead of sitting around a table for a meeting. The more you move, the better off you will be!
Get Fresh Air
If you’re stuck in an air-conditioned office, get out! At least, get out as frequently as you can. Clean, flowing air is hugely important to our health. Good, circulating air has an electrical current that is alive and essential for good health.
Even in the winter, having a window open a little can help you to avoid lung problems and sinus congestion. In the office, you can try taking a break and wandering outside for 5 minutes every hour to get your lungs full of fresh air. Hey, if the smokers can take breaks to fill their lungs with smoke, surely you can step out to fill your lungs with some fresh air.
Get Some Sun
While you’re outside getting some fresh air, try and catch some sun while you’re at it! Many ancient cultures took time out of their day to heal in the sun. This practice was called heliotherapy.
The majority of people in the western world today suffer from a deficiency in vitamin D. Symptoms of this can include bone pain, and muscle weakness but in fact for many people the symptoms are very subtle. Very low levels of vitamin D have been associated with increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, asthma and cancer.
Don’t get too caught up on all that stuff though. Adding at least 15 minutes of exposure to direct sunlight a day is easy and the benefits are huge. Sunshine positively effects the electrical properties of the neural receptors on the entire skin base and the brain. In short, it makes you feel good, improves brain chemistry and helps you to de-stress.
Easy on the Eyes
A combination of poor lighting and having to focus on a computer monitor all day can be really taxing on your eyesight. Here is why.
When you focus on something close up, your eye muscles contract and lengthen your eyeball so that the close image focuses on your retina. This is straining on the eyes and when you look up close too much, you develop a habitual tension on those muscles. Over a long period of time this tension semi-permanently deforms the shape of your eyeball, making it too long all the time, so you loose the ability to ficus on things in the distance. Looking into the distance, relaxes the eye, and so naturally has the opposite effect of this.
Remember to look away from your monitor often, focusing your eyes at varying distances, and every 15 to 30 minutes rest your eyes for a couple of minutes by looking out the window and into the distane.
Stress is an underlying cause of many of our health concerns today. In the modern world, it’s hard to ever escape and switch off. Even once we leave the office our smart phones remind us of up-coming meetings, new e-mails, and the six o’clock news makes us aware of all the events outside the office that we now have to worry about. All of this makes it very difficult to actually relax.
In order to give yourself time to truly unwind and get away from the technology that’s made our lives so much ‘simpler’, try a digital detox. Turn off the television, mobile phone and lap-top, and enjoy some quality time outside in the fresh air, or even inside reading a book. Balance is the key! Digital detoxing can last anywhere form an hour, to living out the rest of your life in the forest without electricity. The longer you are able to do it, the better the benefits will be. Try having a digital free weekend and see how you feel!