Have you ever taken a look at some of the folks that have hung around an office a bit too long and made it all the way to traditional retirement age? It’s not always a pretty sight. Maybe getting fired from your job is a blessing in disguise. Work takes its toll. Decades of sitting at a desk for 8 to 9 hours a day does things to your posture. The endless motivational office sweets result in extra pounds.
Not good for the physique. Let’s look at ways office life is slowly killing you.
Sitting all Day
You typical office job will have you at a desk for about 8 to 9 hours a day with maybe a few brief moments of activity for bathroom breaks or to go to a meeting. Taking lunch is an option typically available, but these days a lot of office workers are too focused on “Being a Brand Ambassador” for the company and maintaining that image of not lifting your nose from the grindstone. Setting aside the fact that this often isn’t worth it from a pay perspective, we also ought to consider the additional cost to our health.
Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” -Ghandi
Mayo Clinic reports risks from sitting include:
- cardiovascular problems
- posture problems
If you must continue to grind it out at the office, do everything you can to get up and walk around as much as possible. Frequent breaks and trips to the restroom are a strategy. Get out and walk during lunch. Some coworkers and your boss could judge you but it’s your body and it’s your right and responsibility to move around and stay healthy. What’s the worst that can happen? They might fire you. Well, you could file for unemployment.
Lack of exercise
It’s true that work doesn’t take up all your waking hours. So we can all exercise after work right? Well, work can take up more then you think. While we might be at work for 8 to 9 hours, other work-related things are grabbing a bit more of our time.
- From the time you wake up until you arrive at work, you’re typically spending your time in preparation of work. Showering, shaving, making yourself pretty. Getting in a quick breakfast if there’s time and then hitting the road to do battle with traffic in order to arrive at your palace of productivity. The time required for this typically ranges from around 30 minutes to two hours for most of us. It’s not so easy to squeeze in exercise during this time, but if you can you’ll be better off
- After work ends, we’ve got the dreaded 5 o’clock traffic commute home which can range from 20 minutes to an hour for most. After this, there’s some time for exercise but most will be ready to make or buy dinner.
Exercise isn’t impossible here but the point, I’m getting at is that we often dedicate around 10 to 11 hours a day towards doing our office job and then the few hours left before bed have left us needing some time to unwind, relax, or enjoy ourselves which makes exercise fall off the list of priorities.
The Office Diet
Looking around many offices, you’ll see….well…not the same levels of health you’ll find from swimsuits. Different shapes and sizes and lumps right? It’s mostly attributed to the office diet. Quick lunches from fast food drive-throughs. Bringing processed crappy food. Snacking from vending machines. And of course, the infamous office snacks that are typically brought: Cake, muffins, chocolate, candies, etc etc.
So What to do?
How can we maintain good health while working in an office? Well if you’ve recently been fired, this is at least something you can be happy about. You’ll no longer be sitting down for eight hours a day letting the body fall apart. Get out and exercise and move around. Spend your days cooking healthy food and enjoying your day. But for the rest of us.. here are just a few ideas.
It could be time to consider some countermeasures. Have you ever heard of compression socks? Images of old men with socks pulled up to their knees come to mind. Well, these socks are designed to basically be very tight and the pressure they exert on the lower legs improves blood pressure and prevents clouting while improving circulation around the body. This is especially helpful if you’re having to sit for 8 hours a day. They’re also great for if you’re traveling long distances by planes. They actually don’t have to be styled like old man socks and professional runners wear them as well. (This made me feel a bit less old about getting a pair..ohh shoot did I just tell people I own a pair..err). Here’s what they look like and where to get a good priced pair at Amazon.
It kind of goes without saying, but put yourself first. Without regard to what your company cultures likes, get up as often as feasible to walk around. Walk on your lunch. Hit the bathroom or go to meetings as much as your freedom allows.
Consider a standing desk.
These days companies are a bit more concerned about their employee’s health. (Or concerned about potential future backlash and lawsuits by neglecting health.) . There is at least some chance your employer may provide you with a standing desk. If they don’t there’s still the option of purchasing one for your home so at least you can do some computer work while standing. Reasonable options exist.
Say “NO” to the Office Sweets
It takes willpower but the sugary snacks most offices promote to pick you up in the afternoon cost you in terms of weight gain and health decline. Bring some healthy food to snack on instead. It will improve your health and probably be better for your pocketbook as well.
Consider freelancing as you move towards achieving FI. There’s still money to be made from blogging also. I’m three months into it and have generated a few hundred dollars so far.