3 Ways to Keep Your Desk Job from Ruining Your Health

Business.com / Careers / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Your desk job should not be a reason for downfall in your health. Follow our tips for a healthier mind and body in the office.

Is your lifestyle destroying your health?

Whether you’re a workaholic like me, or a couch potato like my idiot brother-in-law (just kidding Gregg. Kind of), there comes a point where your body begins to deteriorate.

Your metabolism slows to a crawl and your muscles begin to shrivel.

I woke up one Saturday morning and felt my body ache. I was actually more fatigued than when I laid my head down to rest eight hours earlier.

I had spent the entire work-week glued to my desk, sitting in my car, or catching a few hours of sleep before doing it all over again the next day.

My career and work opportunities were thriving, but my body felt like it was slowly dying.

I committed to changing my habits and work routine. If you’re ready to work hard and take care of your body (you only get one), here’s my recipe for success:

Related Article:Is Your Job Killing You? How to Stay Healthy at Work

Get Moving! Take 17 Minute Breaks Every 52 Minutes

While I consider myself a bit of guinea pig, constantly trying new strategies to improve performance, I can’t claim to be the source of this life-changing advice, courtesy of The Atlantic: “…DeskTime, a productivity app that tracks employees' computer use, peeked into its data to study the behavior of its most productive workers. The highest-performing 10 percent tended to work for 52 consecutive minutes followed by a 17-minute break….”

My Apple Watch yells at me every hour to stand and get active for one minute. The health benefits of standing up regularly aren’t disputed. In fact, some call long periods of sitting at a desk the new smoking; increasing risks of heart disease and obesity. Get up and move at least once every hour to improve your cardiovascular health and rejuvenate your mind for the tasks ahead.

Keep Your Doctor’s Appointments. Telemedicine Is a Great Help.

I’ll be the first to confess that during busy work weeks I let my doctor’s appointments get pushed further down my calendar. I’ve learned that’s a huge mistake. If I had seen my doctor regularly in the months leading up to that horrible weekend I mentioned earlier, I would have been able to get the help I needed a lot sooner to feel healthier and more energized.

Based on my doctor’s advice, I’ve increased the regularity of my check-ups. Plus, when I feel yucky, I have a new tool in my personal health arsenal: telemedicine. This cheaper, more accessible form of medical care is really catching on according to this article discussing quality improvement in healthcare, which claims hospitals that offer telemedicine services are saving some serious dough, and passing on the savings of both time and money to patients.

Related Article:6 Ways Yoga Can Improve Productivity at Work

“Even when line charges and equipment costs of $18,826 were included, the program saved $27,860 per year. The reduction in hospital days saved amounted to $44,419 per year and the reduction in ED visits amounted to $2,267 per year. Patients also saved money by not having to travel to the diabetes clinic (the Medicaid transportation cost for one family to the diabetes clinic was $262).”

I save time and money by avoiding unnecessary trips to visit my doctor’s office. The ease with which I can access care actually encourages me to pay more attention to my health and keep my healthcare provider in the loop.

Finally, I don’t have to sacrifice lunch-break and productivity time to address my minor health concerns.

Feeling Drained, Depressed or Mentally Fatigued? Eat Those Veggies

Believe it or not, our diets have a much bigger impact on our mental health than the number on the scale. According to Science Daily, The American Journal of Public Health has published a study that shows eight servings of fruits and vegetables can dramatically impact later feelings of happiness and joy.

I definitely needed this in my life. My Taco Bell and McDonald’s runs before and after work were taking a toll on my belt buckle. At work, I was relying on caffeine to get through the day and achieve peak performance. After a colleague mentioned this study to me, I swung by the grocery store to pick up some apples, bushels of broccoli and bananas.

Consuming a lot more fruits and vegetables in my diet has seriously changed my mood. I only need one cup of coffee to get through the day (down from three), and I feel more energized. Plus, besides steaming the broccoli, everything else in my refrigerator’s produce drawer is ready-to-consume after a quick rinse.

Related Article: Should You Buy In to a Company's Health Insurance Plan?

If you want to become more productive and feel better, start focusing on your diet. Take time to get up from your desk and get moving. A solid telemedicine service will allow you to have quality medical advice available at a moment’s notice, without wasting hours in traffic and a waiting room. For me, these three simple changes were easy to do and have had an incredible impact on my life. Don’t wait to feel better, do more and take care of the only body you get.

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