Five Tips for Staying Healthy at Your Desk Job


Guest Post by Courtney Gordner, DEG Contributor

No matter how much you enjoy being active, a desk job requires you to be seated for the majority of an eight-hour shift. This doesn’t mean your health has to fall by the wayside. In fact, there are several ways to take care of yourself despite the daily grind. Below are just five ways to do so.

1. Make Moves

An obvious way to stay healthy while working is to avoid staying sedentary all day. Getting up and moving for just five minutes can actually do wonders – not only does it stretch your muscles and realign your spine, but it also helps you feel refreshed and focused on whatever you sit down to work on next. There are several ways to get a burst of exercise into your workday without losing any productivity, such as:

  • Parking farther from your building so you get more exercise as you walk in and out for your lunch break
  • Taking the stairs to your office instead of the elevator
  • Asking a coworker a question in person instead of over the phone or through e-mail
  • Placing things you use often on a table or shelf away from your desk so you have to stand and move to retrieve it
  • Taking a brisk walk during your lunch break
  • Conducting meetings while standing or walking

Of course, these are just a handful of ideas.  Think of how you can move more during your day and implement as many ideas as you can.

2. Set Up Your Sight Lines

If your computer monitor is sitting lower or higher than your eyeline, your neck and head are out of alignment all day long. To avoid neck and shoulder pain, adjust your chair or your computer so that you’re comfortably seated directly across from your screen.

3. … But Be Sure to Look Away

Most offices revolve around computers. And while this might require you to stare at a screen a lot of the time, you should make sure that you look away every once in a while. That’s because Computer Vision Syndrome is a real threat to office workers, causing long-term damage to your eyes if you spend too much time focused on a monitor. To combat it, be sure to look away from your screen every 20 minutes. Don’t just wait until Apple iPad repairs gives you a break from your device, either; if you typically get engrossed in work and lose track of time, set an alarm or reminder on your calendar. Your eyes will thank you later.

4. Fuel Your Body

Even if you’re not active at the office, your body still needs proper nutrition and hydration throughout the day. Be sure to bring healthy snacks each day that are energizing — think fruits and veggies, cheese, pretzels — and help you steer clear of vending machine snacks that are typically unhealthy. Water is just as important. You may not be doing much physically, but you should still take in as much water as possible. Added bonus: hydration will encourage you to get up and use the restroom, helping you achieve the first method described on this list.

5. Stretch It Out

If you simply can’t step away from your desk, you can still soothe muscles that are achy from a period of inactivity. Many workplace stretch plans can be performed seated or standing — take the opportunity during your next conference call to chat and pose. Some popular desk-based stretches include:

  • Inhaling deeply and shrugging your shoulders to release tension from the area
  • Slowly twisting to one side and back to center to stretch your torso
  • Balling your fists and circling your arms in front of you, then shaking your hands so they’re relieved after typing for a long period
  • Giving yourself a hug — right arm on the left shoulder and vice-versa — to soothe an achy back
  • Clasp your hands overhead and look towards the ceiling to relax your entire upper body

The more of these tips that you can implement in your daily routine, the better you’ll feel at the office. The most important step of all is to start.

Courtney Gordner, DEG Consulting ColumnistCourtney Gordner is a blogger/journalist who loves to write. While she enjoys writing about a variety of topics, internet marketing and social media are her favorites. You can read more from her on her blog, Talk Viral or connect with her on Twitter, @CourtGordnerPinterest and Google+.


About Daniel Gold

Daniel Gold is a productivity coach, keynote speaker, author, and podcaster. He is most well known for his eBooks, Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done, Simplify your Life with Springpad, and Make it Happen: How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your eBook. Daniel is also the co-host of the GTD® Virtual Study Group podcast.