Many people have jobs that require them to spend quite a bit of time in front of a computer. Although it may not be physical activity, sitting all day can take a toll on your body. Not to mention, your risk for developing health issues like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes increases. You don’t need to go ditching your desk job, though! Here are 5 ways to stay healthy while working at a computer all day.
1. Proper Sitting Posture
Being mindful of your sitting posture may sound like another task to add to your to-do list, but practicing proper posture can truly be beneficial to your health. You probably notice you’re more likely to slouch in your chair after you’ve sat all morning. When you slouch, you aren’t utilizing your stabilizing core muscles when you slouch. This puts added pressure on your muscles, discs, and joints and leads to back pain and fatigue.
Instead, sit with your chest out and a slight arch in your back. Your head, neck, and torso should be upright, and your feet flat on the floor. You can also roll up a thick towel, about 6 inches in diameter, and place it between your back and the chair. Use the roll for 20-minute increments at a time. Practicing this will help promote core engagement and keep your spine in a neutral position, leaving you feeling your best throughout your workday.
2. Adjust Your Furniture
One area that is often overlooked is the physical setup of your computer workstation. Unfortunately, most computer desks are not one-size-fits-all. Keep your keyboard and mouse at waist height and your elbows bent at 90°. Your computer monitor should be high enough so your eyes are looking up at it straight ahead. Adjusting your monitor’s height keeps your neck in a safe, neutral position and will prevent shoulder and neck strain.
You’ll also want to protect the health of your eyes by eliminating bright spots on your computer monitor. Excessive screen glare can cause you to strain your eyes and lead to headaches and migraines. Adjust your monitor’s settings, use a screen cover, or even wear blue light glasses designed specifically for screen usage to diffuse harmful light.
3. Invest In Ergonomic Furniture
Investing in a few quality ergonomic pieces can truly make a world of difference for your health. Sit-to-stand desks are the most ideal solution for those working at a computer all day long. These desks can help you be more aware of your posture. You’re able to work easily and more comfortably in any position as well. There are also plenty of ergonomic desk accessories, like a sliding keyboard tray or cushioned mouse pad, that will provide plenty of wrist support.
Alternatively, you can invest in a raiser stand for your computer monitor that adjusts to multiple heights and angles. For those who utilize tablets or phones regularly, using a gooseneck holder will let you read and watch your tablet hands-free, all while helping prevent poor posture. Simply clip the tablet holder to the side of your desk and adjust the gooseneck to find the perfect position for you.
4. Take Regular Breaks
It’s not just about the amount of time you spend sitting, however. It’s also about how you sit which can lead to pain and misalignment of the back, neck, and hips. Our bodies crave movement, so remaining in a single position for prolonged periods will create some major problems. Alternate between sitting and standing every 20 minutes, or even take a short walk around the room. Staying stagnant in any position isn’t good for your body, so it’s important to take regular breaks to avoid the sedentary lifestyle that can come from desk work.
If you are limited to strictly sitting at your workstation, switch between sitting at the front edge of your chair and sitting back in your seat. Rotating between sitting on the right side and then the left side of the chair is also helpful. When you constantly change your position, you will reduce tension on your back and prevent you from becoming uncomfortable, even after the workday is through.
5. Grab A Healthy Snack
Snacking periodically throughout your workday is another simple thing you can do at your desk that’s quite beneficial for your overall health. Not only can snacking keep you satiated between meals (and stop you from getting hangry!) but it also gives you the energy to conquer the day by stabilizing your blood sugar levels. The key is choosing the right snack.
Highly processed junk foods are packed with added sugar and sodium. They lack the nutrients necessary to properly fuel your body. It’s like filling your tank up with diesel instead of premium gas, your car won’t process the fuel efficiently and it won’t get you very far. Not all snacks are created equal, so reach for ones with high protein and complex carbohydrates to provide long-lasting energy and keep you focused. Make sure to continuously drink plenty of water too!
Give these tips a try so you can stay healthy and well while working at your computer desk.