How to keep healthy in the office

I have been speaking to some friends of mine who are in the health and fitness sector, one being a Hertfordshire-based osteopath and the other a yoga instructor in London. They both had some great suggestions that I wanted to share with you.

Take regular breaks was something both my friends said almost straight away, get away from the computer screen for at least three or four minutes every hour. With a little effort and nominating yourself as chief coffee maker you can get those essential few minutes away from the computer screen relatively easily.

Review how you’re sitting was something Michael the osteopath said, he continues to say many of his patients complain about wrist and back pain and this is often attributed directly to a bad work station, a seat that is either too high or low and no wrist support on the keyboard. When you arrive at work in the morning be sure to check you are indeed sitting comfortably, that you are not having to stretch and essentially that you are not hunched over. Ideally you want to be sitting with your back against the seat-back and not leaning forward. A good chair will provide support for your back to ensure the correct posture.

Helena, who runs a very successful yoga studio in London, had some great tips for exercise that can be done while sitting at your desk. Firstly she said simple neck stretches are great to alleviate some of the stress on the upper back so while sitting in your chair simply tilt your head to the side so you can feel the neck muscles pulling and hold for a few seconds, repeat three times on each side.

Her next suggestion might get you a few looks in the office but it is definitely worth doing if you can. While sitting turn your entire upper body as far to the side as possible, think of it as if you are trying to look at the person behind you without turning your hips or legs. This manoeuver is great for stretching out the spine.

A few exercises will go a long way in keeping you fit and healthy in the office, however, exercises are only one piece of the puzzle, we also need to think about what we are eating, the air we’re breathing and breaking up the day with our lunch breaks.
I recently read a fantastic article on Woman’s Day that listed ten of the best ways to make your workplace work for your diet. This article had some great tips and I would highly recommend having a read – lots of ideas you can easily adopt for yourself.

Drinking lots of water is one of the more obvious tips, but I am always amazed how little water people drink during a day. Yes, tea and coffee is consumed by the lorry load but the humble water machine barely sees any action. It is recommended we drink eight pints of water a day, now I will agree that seems rather excessive however three or four is probably more feasible.

There is no substitute for fresh air, no matter how good your office air conditioning is. Make sure you get out of the office at least once during the working day, take a walk or just take five minutes out of the front of your office, your lungs will thank you for it.

Other suggestions to ensure you are on tip top form each and every day include always having a good hearty breakfast, ideally this ought to be your largest meal of the day. If you’re a smoker, well you know what I am going to suggest. Lastly, if you’re peckish raid the fruit bowl rather than the vending machine, make the vending machine a no-go zone and instead stock up on a weeks’ worth of fresh fruit when you’re out shopping, if you are feeling really adventurous you could even make your own fresh fruit salads – I do and they are delicious, much nicer than anything in the vending machine across the hall.

Go forth my friends, live and eat well and above all excel in what you do.

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