Photos By Nolan Schmidt
You sit at a computer all day… every day. Your body is aching, your brain is exhausted and you are paying for it. You know your posture isn’t the best, but sitting properly is so tiring. You may even be working from home since COVID hit and your workstation is far from ideal. Here are the top 7 things you can do to combat your desk job and live a healthier life starting TODAY!
1. Find a way to exercise 30 minutes every day
Walking is great, but if you can raise your heart rate more than 70-80% of your max heart rate for 30 minutes a day, you will combat risks of obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and improve your mental and emotional health. In order to calculate your theoretical max heart rate, take 220 −your age. Then find what 70-80% of that number is. That is where you need your heart rate to get these effects!
2. The Doorway Stretch
This is as simple as it sounds. Every time you get up from your desk and walk through a doorway, grab both sides of that doorway in three different positions and stretch for 30 seconds per position. This helps to reset your bad posture and stretch out your muscles on the front of your body. Adequate opening of the chest is imperative for good posture, proper breathing, and full shoulder range of motion.
3. Drink your bodyweight in ounces of water per day.
Hydration is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your health and so many people are not hydrated. If you weigh 150lbs, try to drink 150oz of water per day. This is not coffee, sugary drinks, or other beverages, but plain old water. If your bodyweight seems daunting, start with 50 percent of it and work your way up from there. Water helps your cardiovascular health, helps you maintain healthy skin, allows for your muscles and joints to work better and it helps cleanse your body inside and out. Keep your favorite mug next to you and every time you get up to fill it, make sure you do the doorway stretch!
For every 55 minutes you are at your desk, you should move for five minutes. Not everyone’s office environment is conducive for a mini-workout, but here are some ideas:
- Do 50 burpees (This will hit you like a triple espresso!)
- Every minute on the minute for five minutes, complete 10 squats.
- Take a quick break and walk up and down the stairs for 5 minutes (stretch out your shoulders while you are at it).
- Do some wall angels (description below).
- Stand up and do some lunges (go down as far as you can in your body’s mobility or your workspace limitations)
- Do hip circles for 5 minutes.
5. 20/20/20 Rule
Fresh Air Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Did you know that if you only stare at a screen that is a couple of feet away from your eyes, you start to limit how far your eyes can see? Screen time provokes nasty headaches and much of these are due to posture and eye pain, so using the 20/20/20 rule will help you to minimize these effects.
6. Fresh Air
Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Did you know that if you only stare at a screen that is a couple of feet away from your eyes, you start to limit how far your eyes can see? Screen time provokes nasty headaches and much of these are due to posture and eye pain, so using the 20/20/20 rule will help you to minimize these effects. Every day at your lunch break, spend at least 5 minutes outside. The more the better. Sitting in buildings and breathing in the same stagnant air will cause you to feel tired and groggy. No matter what the temperature, gear up or down and make fresh air a habit. This will also help your mental health. Getting outside will help decrease the effects of depression and especially seasonal affective disorder.
7. Do wall Angels.
This seems like a strange thing to do, but go into half squat so your lower back, upper back, head and back of arms and wrists are on the wall (looking like a goal post). Move your arms up and down slowly, not allowing anything to move away from the wall. Keep pressing your hands and arms into the wall the entire time. This works many posterior chain muscles while stretching out the front side of your body. This exercise is surely going to give you a piece of humble pie, but you will thank me for it later!