Staying healthy at your desk

Lidia VarescoAs creative solopreneurs, most of us spend hours at our desk without even realizing it. Dedicating long hours to your business can be a necessity—but it can also take a toll on your body.

As someone who went through a bout of wrist tendinitis early in my solopreneur career, I quickly realized I had to change my workspace—and my approach to working.

While dealing with my injury, I discovered a beneficial yoga DVD called RX: Yoga, created specifically for people dealing with for RSIs (repetitive stress injuries). There are many other therapeutic yoga DVDs available, as well as online at-your-desk stretching programs such as My Daily Yoga. Even spending just 15 minutes a day stretching can make a big difference in how you feel.

But prevention is the best medicine, so I also had to adjust my workspace. I found that my keyboard was improperly placed, leading to poor posture. With a few adjustments, I was working healthy again. Check your workspace regularly to assure it’s ergonomically-arranged. The OSHA Ergonomic Solutions Computer Workstations eTool features a handy reference page and checklist.

In order to stay healthy, you also have to get out of your chair—often. According to a recent report, too much sitting is bad for your health. Just 4 hours of sitting can take a toll on your body. Yes, I know you’re on deadline, but risking an injury is not worth it. Whether you like it or not, take a 5-minute break every few hours. Check the mail, wash dishes, get a glass of water—whatever gets you up and moving. Your health will thank you!

Tips for staying healthy at your desk:

  • Make an appointment with your treadmill: schedule workout reminders on your calendar or mobile phone
  • Adjust your workspace: make sure your desk, chair, keyboard and monitor are ergonomically-situated
  • Downward dog at your desk: keep a yoga mat and yoga/stretching DVDs in your office
  • Take a healthy lunch break: sign up for a lunchtime yoga or fitness class—or just take a walk around the block
  • Make a “stretch book”: fill a binder with copies of at-your-desk stretches to do throughout the day (yoga and health magazines are a great reference for ideas)
  • Recruit solopreneur workout buddies: take advantage of your flexible schedules and take an afternoon walk or gym break together
  • Stand up every four hours: walk around for at least five minutes—set a reminder alarm on your computer if necessary
  • Create walkable errands: need to do project research? Walk to the library instead of hitting the Internet.
  • Get a dog: you’ll have no choice but to stretch your legs every few hours!

Now, get out of your chair and start moving!

Any more ideas to share?

5 thoughts on “Staying healthy at your desk

  1. gerry suchy


    Great advice especially the dog or dogs in my case. See what I mean here

    The other point I would make is the concept of using a stand up desk. I’ve been doing this for about 6 months and it’s really quite amazing. My lower back is never sore even after many hours of continuous work. Here’s more info from the NYT

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