Sitting at a desk all day and leading a sedentary lifestyle can be disastrous for overall health. A study by Regus showed that half of Singaporeans spend more than 8 hours in the office every day, with a staggering 19% of Singapore employees regularly working more than 11 hours each day. Singapore actually has the longest working hours in the world. Spending so much time sitting at a desk can have a multitude of negative effects on the body.
Physical inactivity has been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, as well as increasing the likelihood of anxiety and depression. Studies have shown showed a 40% decrease in cancer mortality in persons who were physically active compared to those who were inactive and led a sedentary lifestyle. It’s a fact of life that millions of Singaporeans must spend a large amount of time at their desk each day. But that doesn’t mean you can’t practice wellness and fitness techniques at the same time!
Check out our ten wellness techniques which you can complete without leaving your office.
Our bodies are made up of 90% water – so if you’re not drinking enough, your body simply can’t be performing to its highest potential. Keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day can help you to focus on your individual tasks, it can aid digestion and even contribute towards weight loss. Keep a large bottle of water at your desk – aim to drink the full thing before lunch, then fill it up and drink it again during the afternoon.
Yes – you can still exercise when you’re sitting in your chair! One great exercise involves sitting with a straight back and your legs out in front of you, under the desk. Engage your core muscles and lightly swing your legs up and down. This will work your abdominal and glute muscles, as well as boosting blood flow and raising your heart rate. Another simple exercise is the wrist stretch. You can do this stretch by straightening your arms out in front of you and pointing your palms outward, with your fingers linked. Stretch out your hands and wrists gently and start pulling your hands upward toward the ceiling while your fingers are still linked together. Hold this position for about 7-8 seconds and then take a short few seconds break. Repeat this motion until you feel relieved. This does not only relax your hand and wrist, but also your arms, shoulders, and back. Once you feel relaxed, you can stop and take a break before going back to your work.
Meditation is good for the body and the soul. Take ten minutes to practice meditation every day – you don’t even have to get up from your desk. There are lots of great apps that can guide you through a short meditation session to help reduce stress and clear your mind.
If you have a deadline coming up at work, you might be feeling stressed – this can lead to you taking shorter, sharper breaths that contribute to the sensation of panic and anxiety. Take a moment to inhale deeply – after all, oxygen is the fuel for your body and your brain, and if you’re not getting enough, you can start to feel panicked.
Go out for lunch
This tip actually recommends leaving your desk for at least 30 mins every day. 29% of Singaporeans eat their lunch at their desk every day (with women more likely to spend their lunch break working). Instead of eating your lunch while you compose emails or finish off a spreadsheet, go for a brisk walk and grab a healthy lunch nearby. You’ll feel refreshed when you come back into the office, and your general sense of wellness will improve.
You don’t have to lie down on the floor of your office to enjoy the benefits of yoga at work – you can actually complete some of the poses sitting at your desk! High Altar Pose is a great position to stretch your spine – breathe deeply, clasp your hands and lift them over your head, inverting your palms to face the ceiling. Lean gently to the left – you should feel the stretch down your right side, as well as in your spine, neck and shoulders. Hold the position, then repeat on the right. Complete this technique as many times as you need to feel refreshed.
Choose a mantra
Having your own positive mantra can totally transform your sense of wellness at work. Choose a simple affirmation – something like, “I possess all the qualities necessary to be successful,” or, “Today, I am filled with energy, creativity and joy.” Say it with conviction each day, or when you need a particular boost at your desk.
Keep healthy snacks close by
Dedicate a desk drawer to healthy, convenient snacks. If you feel your blood sugar dropping throughout the day and need something to perk you up, pop a protein ball, enjoy some dried fruit or some lightly toasted nuts and seeds. Superfood smoothies are also a great way to restore your energy levels halfway through the day!
Engage all senses
Working in an office, you can become de-sensitized to the world around you. Take the time each day to enjoy some sensory relief. Play with a stress ball or rub some lotion onto your hands. Spritz your favourite scent around your desk. Sip a tasty drink or listen to your favourite song. These sensory activities can act as stress relief and can keep you motivated throughout the day.
Focus on ergonomics
Ask your employer for an ergonomic desk, chair, keyboard and mouse. This will prevent back, neck and wrist strain when you’re sitting down for long periods. You could even ask for a standing desk, which are growing in popularity. Incorporating some standing in your day can reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular problems and can even reduce the risk of some cancers.
So there you have it – ten amazing wellness techniques you can practice in your office. Here at cloud9.sg, we believe that wellness is a fantastic way to boost health and productivity, as well as helping employees to lead a more balanced lifestyle through massage therapy. We provide Singapore with the best home, hotel and office massages delivered right to your doorstep. For more information, inspiration and advice, browse the rest of our blog posts!