3 Tips for Staying Healthy at a Desk Job

Does your back hurt? If so, you’re not alone. Three million Americans suffer from back pain, and a significant percentage of those are office workers. The modern world has caused the sedentary behavior to become the norm, and that’s a serious problem that can lead to a myriad of problems including back pain, weight gain, and more. Below are some tips to help you stay healthy at your desk.

1. Get the Right Chair

If you’ve ever experienced back pain, you know it’s the absolute worst. As a chronic sufferer myself I know first hand how bad sitting is for my back. It’s painfully obvious (literally) that if I sit for too long, or sit in the wrong type of chair, or with bad posture my back will pay the price. My first tip for avoiding or alleviating back pain while working a desk job is start with the chair. Play around with all the knobs on your office chair and make sure the height is such that your feet are resting flat on the floor. If there’s a lumbar support knob use it but if not put either a towel, blanket, or pillow behind your back to support your lumbar spine. Check out this UCLA Health article for more tips.

2. Stand Don’t Sit

Next, for a healthier and happier back ditch the chair altogether. There are many alternative chair options out there including wobbly stools, kneeling chairs, and yoga ball chairs. Personally, I use a standing desk after I threw out my back again last year. While lying on the floor for a week trying to work with my laptop on my stomach, I decided it was time to get serious about finding a solution. I ended up getting a Varidesk which has a multitude of options depending on desk size and a number of monitors. It’s been amazing for my back, and it cuts down on my sitting by about half.  The best part is it is easy and fast to switch between sitting and standing when I need to. Don’t forget to get a good mat to go with it!

3. Take a Walk

My last tip is the most important one which is to take quick stretch breaks every other hour or so. Stretching and flexing will help loosen up muscles that have become tight while sitting in your chair for hours. During your lunch break take a 30-minute walk this helps your back, shoulder, neck, etc. pain as well as promote mobility in your muscles and joints. A 30-minute walk each day is a first step towards being healthier. Taking a break from the office to go outside and be away from your computer is also great for your mental health. I always find that I’m more clear headed and focused when I return to my desk after a break in the middle of the day after getting some fresh air.

Much of our days are spent sitting during our commute, at our desks, and on the couch in the evenings. Sitting, in and of itself, is not evil but a lack of movement is contributing to a less healthy society. I am guilty of this myself and have recently tried to make some life changes to become a healthier version of myself. Since much of my day is spent working, many of these changes are taking place at my desk. What do you do to stay healthy at your desk job? Have you joined the alternative chair club? Do you have any tips for others who are looking to make healthier choices during their workday?