Five ways to work at a desk and stay healthy 1 year ago

Five ways to work at a desk and stay healthy

Brought to you by the Irish Heart Foundation

It's important to keep moving.

Last week, these warning posters popped up around Dublin telling people that "chairs can kill." Seeing as how sitting down for too long will drastically increase your risk of everything from heart disease to stroke and affect the body's ability to burn fat, it's certainly true.

Even if you exercise regularly outside of work, it's important to keep an eye on how long it's been since you last stood up or walked around. With that in mind, we've come up with a few tips that will help you spend more time away from your chair.

1. Go for a walk at lunchtime

Do you have a cafe near your office that knows exactly what you're going to order before you've opened your mouth? It might be a good idea to go a bit further afield every now and then to get a bit of extra exercise into your day.

Just by going away from your usual haunts, you might end up finding a hidden gem that you never came across before. Plus, we all need to broaden our horizons every now and then.

2. Walk around when you're on the phone

If you're on the phone to someone, it's a good opportunity to get up and walk around the office for the duration of the call. Any occasion where you don't necessarily need to be at your desk is a chance for you to stretch your legs.

You'll also sound better on the phone by standing up. It puts less pressure on your diaphragm, you can use your arms to gesticulate, and it's human nature for us to feel more confident when we make ourselves stand as tall as possible.

3. Set reminders for yourself

The 55-minute hour is a good way to go. Basically, just set a reminder for yourself to get up and walk around for the last 5 minutes of an hour.

There are apps you can get for iPhone or Android that give you reminders, and there's an extension for Chrome called Break Timer. Do whatever you can to get off your chair at various points throughout the day, even if there's a particular song that always gets you to stand...

4. Send messages in person

We know it's easy to drop someone an email or a Slack message, but getting away from your desk to physically talk to someone makes a big difference. Not only do you get to move around a lot more, but talking to your co-workers in person rather than online will likely make you more comfortable around them.

It often gets things done a lot quicker too, as something that would be sorted with a 5-minute conversation could take hours via email.

5. Ask your boss about a standing desk

It isn't as difficult as you might think to convert your workspace to a standing desk. Simply raising your computer or moving over to a spot with a more elevated platform would be ideal.

We could write a full article on the benefits of a standing desk, but they include a reduced risk of heart disease, back pain, and even diabetes. They've also been proven to improve your overall mood and productivity, as who gets anything done when they're feeling miserable?

Chairs can kill! Sitting for long periods of time is bad for your heart and can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, even if you exercise regularly. By making small changes to our daily routine, we can reduce the amount of time we spend sitting down. Check out the Irish Heart Foundation's sitting calculator to find out how long you spend sitting down and for handy tips to sit less! 

Brought to you by the Irish Heart Foundation