The Work Trap

The other day I came across an article (that I now can't find the link for...grr!) detailing how working in an office can be detrimental to your health. For obvious reasons (aka: I work in an office) this caught my attention and got me thinking....

Could this be an issue for me?

Overall I like to think I am a pretty health focused individual but could I be caught in the trap without even knowing?

There are definitely some potentials:

1. I sit at a desk or in a meeting room for most of my day. Given that a work week is 40+ hours that's a lot of time parked on my butt.

2. The never ending cycle of office potlucks, birthday celebrations and otherwise unhealthy fare that makes its way into the fold. All that tempting food is hard to turn down when it's everywhere, all the time.

3. Recycled air. Studies have shown that air inside a building can be substantially dirtier then the air outside. Pollutants from air conditioning and bacteria plaoting around can pose health risks for some people. Source

4. Germs. Sharing office equipment and working with dedicated people who battle through colds and flus at work can expose me to viruses and bacteria that can wreak havoc on my overall health.

5. Stress. Working under pressure to meet deadlines and solve issues as they crop up certainly weigh on me both mentally and physically.

So how do I combat this possible problems since winning the lottery and retiring by 30 isn't quite panning out the way I had planned?

1. Get up and walk around when I can. Instead of sending emails or making phone calls I try to get up and go talk to people when I have time. Not only does it get me moving but the face to face interaction is a nice break from staring at a computer screen all day.

2. Pack a healthy lunch and stock my drawers with healthy snacks. It's a lot easier to say no to the slice of birthday cake when you aren't starving and looking for a 3pm pick me up.

3. Make friends with the healthy coworkers who encourage active living and keep me motivated. Its much harder to skip a workout when someone is standing at your desk with her gym bag, ready to go for a run.

4. Take the stairs. It doesn't seem like a big deal but any extra physical activity sure can't hurt!

5. Use the work gym. It's in the building and its free. How could I say no?

6. Make a healthy lifestyle a priority. There are a 168 hours in a week, meaning that 128 of them aren't spent at work. That's a lot of time to make up for all the desk sitting, dirty air breathing, stress accumulation that takes place.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a LottoMax ticket to check...

So tell me, is your job a healthy living hazard? How do you avoid the trap?


  1. There was a recent study on the dangers of a desk job that I wrote about here:
    That's probably the study you heard about.

    You have some good ideas. I am good about packing my lunch and snacks and taking the stairs, but less good about getting UP from my desk. We don't have a nice gym like that.

  2. At my school, every Friday during the school year- the teacher's would take turn with bringing breakfast stuff for the teacher's lounge. This was my 1st year in the particular school, and I did really well with avoiding the lounge the majority of the school year, but towards the end of the year (when I had an extreme stress level!), it got harder and harder to resist the temptation! I work at 2 schools, which forces me to bring my lunch, rather than eat the school lunch, so that's at least healthier for me!

  3. It is hard to be healthy when working at a desk job. I try to get up and walk around once an hour to get my heart rate up, and I always pack a lunch and bring healthy snacks as well. It sounds like you have some great ways to be healthy at work!

  4. I have a desk job, so in that aspect i guess it's unhealthy. I don't have any co-workers besides the Dr, but he's only in the office to see patients. I get to avoid all the co-worker germs, but working for a surgeon probably exposes me to more germs than I care to think about.

    I do take the stairs quite a bit.. mostly because I can't stand to be on the elevator with people. I have my own fridge so it's stocked with good stuff.. no pot lucks or birthday parties since I'm by myself. I know I'm pretty lucky.. I wish we had a gym.. that would rock.

  5. I can totally relate - I spend most of my week in a cubicle!

  6. I sit at a desk 40 hours a week. Sometimes more, considering lunch is often at my desk. I hate it. I take stairs some and I always bring my own food, but that's about it. I've debating bringing in a yoga mat to use during my lunch breaks. Something, anything!! It also makes me more worn out and lethargic at the end of the day, so I'm less likely to have energy to workout.

  7. great post!When I first started my current job I went from walking around a GINORMOUS hospital, to sedentary work. I made the most of it by walking on every break (totals ~60 mins/day), moving every 30 moinutes or more, always taking the stairs, and occasionally pulling up 10 min youtube videos for butt work, etc. These little things add up in a BIG way!

  8. We have a lot of bakers in the office (myself included) who bring all kinds of delicious treats into the office -- it's brutal to say no sometimes, especially if you have a sweet tooth like I do.

    My office just opened a gym for its employees which I'm really excited about -- hello treadmill runs during lunches!