The sloth is a medium-sized mammal that moves very rarely—spending the majority of its life in one place feeding off of one tree. It only comes down to use the bathroom about once a week. When the sloth does move, it moves very s l o w l y.
Working in an office can turn humans into similar creatures, tethered to a workstation, only coming out for lunch or bathroom breaks. Regardless which perch you call home, a sedentary life is not a healthy life. Here are four easy ways to break up your workday and make it healthier.
Perform an Ergonomic CheckUpImproper desk ergonomics can result in neck, back and wrist pain, and over time cause irreparable damage to the body. Prevent pain now and damage later by performing an ergonomic checkup on your desk and work area.
For a more in-depth ergonomic evaluation of your work environment, check out OSHA’s Computer Workstation eTool.
Taking short breaks throughout the day could be better at preventing damage from desk sloth syndrome than conventional break schedules. A study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found discomfort and eyestrain decreased when computer workers took four five-minute "mini-breaks" throughout their workday. Other studies show that workers who take short breaks increase productivity.
Take Many Mini-Breaks
Take a mini-break on the hour to rest your eyes and roll your wrists. Turn away from your screen and focus on the farthest thing you can see for 20 seconds. Then focus on something close to you for 20 seconds, and then back at something farther away. Repeat 10 times. To stretch your wrists and prevent carpal tunnel, try these three wrist exercises from WebMD.
Take Your Breaks OutsideUse your longer breaks as an opportunity to go outside and walk. Walking improves concentration, focus and attention span, reduces stress and improves your overall cardiovascular health. Bundled with the additional health benefits of fresh air and sunshine, walking outside makes your workday extra healthy.
While aiming for 10,000 steps a day can feel daunting, challenge yourself to see how many steps you can get in during your allotted break time. Remember, just 10 steps is more than you were doing before and can go a long way to preventing desk sloth syndrome. Can’t go outside during your break? Walk around inside your building, or check out these exercises you can do at your desk.
Abdominal Exercise You Can Do at Your Desk
Proper hydration increases energy, alertness, concentration, and productivity, fights fatigue and improves mood among many other benefits. And, not any old liquid will do. Harness the power of water, nature’s best hydrator, and make your workday healthier by keeping a water bottle on your desk.
Keep a Water Bottle On Your Desk
A customized guide of reference for water intake by the Institute of Medicine recommends women drink about nine cups a day and men drink 13 cups. Make it a priority to drink your water bottle dry 3-4 times during the day. Have trouble remembering to drink? Put a sticky note on your monitor or program your phone to remind you to drink up!