The average adult spends:
Do you spend the majority of your workday at your desk? Sitting most of the day, along with other habits you develop while working, can take a toll on your health.
The average adult spends:
12 hours in front of a computer, TV or smartphone daily1
75% of the day sitting when holding an office job2
Fortunately, small adjustments to your daily work habits can potentially make a big difference for your health and well-being. Here are some ways to integrate healthier habits into your day, whether you’re working in the office or at home.
Stand up periodically
Pause a moment to stretch. If you can, take brief walks for five minutes each hour. Incorporating movement and exercise into your day has so many benefits, including boosting your energy, making you feel happier and healthier, and reducing your risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Research shows that short exercises throughout the day can help your performance and efficiency at work.
Take screen breaks
Look away for about 20 seconds every 20 minutes to give your eyes a much-needed break. Staring at a screen for too long can harm your health. Make sure your screen is an arm’s length away. Blue light glasses have gained popularity because they may help reduce eye strain. To prevent your eyes from drying, don’t forget to blink or use artificial tears drops.
Sit up straight
Keep your neck from bending to one side for too long and change positions frequently. Poor posture can strain the muscles of your jaw, neck, shoulders and lower back. Bending forward for too long also upsets the balance of your head on your neck. This can give you headaches and neck pain, and change how your teeth come together when you bite. Maintaining good posture can help to prevent added strain on your mouth and body.
Unplug from electronics
Step away from your desk during lunch and other breaks. Taking time to enjoy your break will help you relax and reenergize. Reducing stress can help avoid problems such as nail biting, teeth grinding, canker sores and gum disease. By giving yourself this pause, you’ll feel better prepared to tackle the rest of your day.
Limit your coffee intake
Too much coffee can stain your teeth, cause headaches and anxiety, and make you feel jittery. Caffeine can contribute to dry mouth, and teeth grinding and clenching. Adding too much sugar to your coffee can lead to tooth decay.
Prepare a balanced lunch
Keep healthy foods on hand, including fruits and veggies, nuts such as almonds, lean meats, whole grains and cheese. Fueling your body with nutritious foods helps you stay energized at work, boosts your brain power and keeps your oral and overall health in check. Alternatively, foods high in sugar or fat can make you feel sluggish and drained.
Fill a reusable bottle with water
Sip on water throughout the day. Staying hydrated can help increase your energy levels, boost your mood and improve your memory and performance. Water keeps your mouth clean and helps prevent dry mouth, so it’s good for your smile, too.
Keep your desk clean
Tidy up daily and reduce clutter. This can help lower stress and allow you to get a fresh start the next day. Use a disinfectant at least once a week to wipe down your desk, keyboard and phone, which can harbor germs that can potentially make you sick.
Giving your mind and body breaks throughout the day can benefit your health. Beyond your daily routine, be sure to take advantage of your PTO. Time off is key to staying healthy and refreshed long term.
2British Heart Foundation