5 Ways to Improve Your Health at Work

April 6, 2016

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Businesses have been coming under increasing pressure in recent years to do a better job of promoting good health in the workplace, but it’s ultimately up to individuals to follow the rules and guidelines. The human body was not designed to spend eight hours per day, five days per week, in the typical workplace scenario of sitting in front of a computer screen, so it’s no wonder that doing so can take its toll on your health. To improve your health and comfort during the working week, take to heart the following tips:

#1. Keeping Hydrated

One of the most common causes of lethargy at work, particularly during the middle of the afternoon, is down to a lack of hydration. You should always have plenty of water with you, regardless of the weather and the amount of exercise you get during the day. Try to drink at least a litre and a half of water per day, and consider setting some goals for yourself so that you don’t forget. Many foods, particularly fruits, are also good sources of hydration throughout the day.

#2. Never Skipping Meals

Many people end up being so fixated on their jobs, particularly when there’s an excess of work to do, that they skip lunch. Others, determined to get to work early, forget about breakfast. Both practices are very bad for your metabolism and health overall, and many people make up for the lack of proper meals by snacking throughout the day. Employers are generally legally obliged to allow their staff to have approximately an hour every day for a lunch break, and you should never be tempted to skip it just to get work out of the way sooner.

#3. Taking Regular Walks

Your lunch break is also the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs, even if you only have time for a quick walk around the block. Health experts recommend that you have a short break from spending time sat at the desk every half an hour to an hour, and this is extremely good advice. Recent studies have found that sitting down for the entire day leads to bad posture, back pains and a whole raft of other possible medical issues. If you’re doing any work from home, you may also want to invest in a standing desk.

#4. Practicing Good Ergonomics

While it is, of course, your employer’s responsibility to provide suitable office chairs and other equipment that take into account the importance of ergonomics, there are some things you can do to improve the situation yourself. Common work-related issues, which are often down to a lack of ergonomics, include repetitive strain injury (RSI) or carpal tunnel syndrome. If you suffer from such issues, you should consider altering the height of your chair, the distance between you and the computer screen and, most importantly, using a more ergonomic keyboard and mouse.

#5. Minimizing Eyestrain

Given that the workday in a typical office job is largely spent in front of the computer, eyestrain is a very common issue. If your eyes are starting to feel tired, dry or irritated at work, you should take some steps to reduce eyestrain. Although taking regular short breaks can often alleviate these problems, you should also work with as much natural light as possible. You should also use the native screen resolution of the monitor, increasing the text size separately if necessary. Additionally, computer glasses or antiglare filters can help.

Final Words

Many common health-related problems start in the workplace, whether you’re working in a typical office scenario or in front of your own computer at home. For the most part, preventing some of the more common issues is all about getting into a few good habits and establishing a healthy, sustainable routine which involves drinking plenty of water, having enough exercise and never skipping meals.