Slowly but surely, your office job takes a toll on your health and fitness. It’s easy to overlook how it’s affecting you, and it’s just as easy to fix it. You can work hard while staying healthy.
There are a variety of ways that office work affects you, such as sitting for too long, bad posture, muscle aches due to repetitive tasks, stress and anxiety, and so on. By taking small steps to address these issues, you can stop them from becoming serious. As these five apps show, it would take no more than five minutes in every hour to fix.
1. Fix Posture (Web): Look Into Webcam to Fix Your Posture
Fix Posture is a website that promises to tell you how to sit in the best and most ergonomic way at your desk. Once you grant it access to your webcam, the AI will determine if you’re making a mistake. Till you fix the mistake, the whole web page will look blurry.
The app looks out for common posture mistakes like if your body is leaning towards the screen or the screen is too far from eye level. If you keep the tab open, Fix Posture will send you an hourly reminder to check how you are sitting. It’s not perfect and foolproof, of course, but try it out. The minute you adjust yourself to unblur the text, you’ll feel like you are sitting with a better posture.
The text on the website has some mistakes because it’s seemingly made by someone who isn’t a native English speaker, but it’s best to overlook that. You’ll get a gist of what the person intends to say, and that’s good enough for the app to work well.
2. Move More (Windows, macOS, Linux): Desktop App for Alerts
Several scientific studies have shown that sitting in one place for too long is harmful. Among other things, it has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. But when you’re engaged in work, it slips your mind. A simple reminder app can fix that.
Move More is a desktop software for all major operating systems that sits in the system tray quietly till you need a reminder to take a break. You can set the amount of time for that reminder manually, and the option of a sound alert. You also get a message with the reminder to do something healthy.
The message is customizable, which is where you can get a bit creative. For example, you could set a simple to-do list for breaks, reminding yourself of three to five healthy habits. Pick any of them to do, and then get back to work.
3. Mindshift (Android, iOS): Deal with Work Stress and Anxiety
Office and work situations can often be stressful and make you feel anxious. To help you deal with them, Anxiety Canada has developed a free app that guides you through different mental troubles and doubles up as a mood tracker.
Based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you can choose from a range of exercises in the Healthy Thinking and Taking Action sections. For example, coping cards give you reaffirming statements that tackle stressful thoughts like perfectionism, social anxiety, panic, and general worry. Belief experiments will make you predict the outcome going through your mind and check in later to see if it panned out.
Apart from these exercises, there are informational guides about different anxiety-based situations. And as with most such apps, there are short guided meditations to calm you.
Mindshift is a Swiss Army knife of methods to deal with stress and anxiety at work. According to the situation you find yourself in, choose the method that is best for you.
4. Brogrammer (Web): Reminders to Take Breaks and Exercise
If you tend to get lost in your work, a shrill whistle is bound to snap you out of it. That whistle means your coach says it’s time to take a break, get up, and move. Brogrammer is a free web app that sends you these periodic reminders and suggests an exercise.
At its core, you will get a reminder every hour to take a break and move around. It has a varied collection of exercises and you’re free to skip the suggestion till you find something you like. Then it’s time to do that exercise (shown as an instructional GIF) for the number of suggested reps or seconds. When you’re done, click “Stop exercise now” to get a reminder to drink some water. Finally, reset the clock when you’re back at work.
Brogrammer even lets you create a custom workout plan for your needs. In that, you can customize the types of workouts you want, the frequency of these exercises, how many hours you intend to work for, and the intensity of the workout.
As a completely free app that requires no installation, you can use it on your desktop or even on your mobile. It’s one of those apps that does exactly what it set out to do and does it well.
5. Darebee’s 100 Office Workouts (Web, Android, PDF): No-Equipment, Visual Guides
When you’re taking a quick break, a little bit of stretching or light exercises can go a long way to keeping your body from breaking down. Darebee is one of the best websites to find free health and fitness printables on a variety of topics.
Whether you use it from the free PDF ebook or the Android app, it’s the same result. There are 100 office workouts, all of which require no external apparatus. Some can be done sitting in the chair, others require you to get up and move around. Author Neila Ray is an expert in no-equipment workouts.
How you choose to do the office workouts is up to you since there isn’t a prescribed guide for that. It’s best to stick to one page at a time and cycle through them according to the area of the body you want to exercise. The 60-second workouts are great, and I’d recommend bookmarking those pages.
Download: 100 Office Workouts for Android (Free)
Download: 100 Office Workouts Ebook (PDF)
Choose the Right Computer Chair
As you know through this article, there are several factors to keep in mind when you want to stay healthy at work. Ideally, seek work-life balance and ensure you get enough sunlight, move around regularly, eat healthy, and drink water. But apart from that, you need to concentrate on your sitting hours too.
One of the best investments you can make for a healthy body is to buy a comfortable and ergonomic chair. Not everyone needs a Herman Miller, so take a look at some of the best cheap computer chairs to get started.
Image Credit: AndreyPopov/Depositphotos