Cultivating Healthy Habits at the Office

Evolution did not design humans to be sedentary. We evolved to be the apex predator — we were built to hunt our food, not passively watch as last night’s leftovers complete several revolutions in the microwave. But this is the reality of the modern office: many of us have been reduced to office-dwelling drones, who spend most of our waking hours seated behind a desk. Unfortunately, sitting for long hours like this has adverse effects on our collective health — the dangers of spending too many hours in a seated position include heart disease, stoke, and sluggish muscles and blood flow to name a few.

We can maintain our apex predator status and keep apes from taking over as earth’s most dominant species. If you’re a worker bee at an office, read on to find out the simple steps you can take to maintain control over your body while you live out actual scenes from Office Space in real life.

1. Get up every hour and walk

Lounge magazine decorA lot of health articles have been encouraging office workers to regularly get up from their desk once every hour or thirty minutes to stretch and move around for two minutes. Regular exercise apparently is not enough to reverse the effects of sitting all day long, but you can outdo this by getting up to just stand, stretch, or walk around a little. If you’re lucky enough to work in an office with lots of open spaces like L’Oreal Indonesia (photo above) — which was recently awarded by Green Building Council Indonesia for its commitment to green living — then take advantage of all that space by getting up and getting in a few leisurely laps.

This is a habit I’m trying to enforce on myself recently — I take a break after sitting down for an hour to pace in circles at the Female Daily community center for five minutes. The effects are supposed to be hugely beneficial: standing up every 20 minutes slims down your chances of getting diabetes. It also encourages the breakdown of fat, keeps your metabolism in check, and even improves your performance at work. So once you’re done reading this, just get up from your chair and stand, stretch, walk, or do the next thing in this article, which is…

2. Deskercise! office wapo(Image source: The Washington Post)

Exercising at your desk — or deskercising — can be a little humiliating, but the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term humiliation. The Washington Post published a helpful and hilarious guide to desk exercising and measure them according to difficulty and humiliation levels. Pick a few and go with it. Don’t worry about other people: your coworkers won’t be laughing when you win the Best Bod Award at the Christmas party.

You can also implement other forms of activity into your daily grind, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and sitting on an exercise ball instead of your office chair.

3. Eat and drink well

IMG_20130122_090135Right about mid morning or late afternoon, FDHQ would be inundated with the smell of coffee and the sounds of potato chip packages getting torn open. The lull of sitting behind a desk for hours can drive office workers to boredom, and that boredom is manifested n the form of the munchies or a caffeine craving. Stay in control of your body and increasing awareness of all the foods that go into it: instead of potato chips, opt for healthier snacks like fruits and nuts. Instead of sugary coffee, get your late afternoon buzz with a glass of fresh juice instead.

If you’re new to juicing, check out our primer to juicing gear!