Last couple of decades saw an exponential grown in the field of science and technology. Manual labor jobs turned into sitting-in-a-chair-all-day white collar job. We stopped making our own food and started buying it preprocessed. Because it was easier. It had chemicals, wasn’t really natural but we didn’t care.
The advent of the internet allowed us to work from anywhere. That sounds incredibly romantic. You can work from anywhere! Where did we end up working from? Our homes, in our pajamas. The last excuse some people had to step out of the house – to make a living – has now gone.
And now it’s all this.
Even if you’re not (good for you, seriously), chances are you’re stressed out, tired and generally not what your grandfather would call “healthy“. It doesn’t have to be like this. If you start making a few small and simple changes to your lifestyle today, you’ll be adding many pleasant years to your life on the planet Earth.
1. 7-Minute Workout
If you are low on time, the best thing you can do to get yourself moving is the 7-minute workout. You do 12 exercises in succession with 5 second breaks. It’s only 7 minutes but you’ll break quite a bit of sweat at the end of it.
If you’re constantly typing away on your computer (note to self), your hands can get tired, resulting in something called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you’re feeling a tingling sensation or numbness in your fingers, you might be suffering from it already.
If you follow some simple stretching exercises shown in the video above, you should start seeing a difference in a couple of days.
3. Looking Away From The Computer Screen
This century has brought forward a phenomenon called 20-20-20. In plain and simple words it means after every 20 minutes of looking at a computer screen you should take a 20 second break and focus on an object 20 feet away.
Fitness sucks, gyms are the breeding grounds for steroid snobs and packaged foods are the best. At least one of those three things is not true.
Fitness can be interesting. If you’re a nerd/computer geek/tech enthusiast/(insert techie label here), you’ll love what the Steve Kamb over at NerdFitness offers. It’s a site that talks about fitness but with all the references and inside jokes you, the nerdy guy/gal will understand. There’s no magical workout or a pill to end all your problems.
NerdFitness gives you the harsh truth served with a topping of logical thinking, just the way you like it.
Man wasn’t really meant to sit for 8 hours a day on a desk chair with his back hunched and his eyes staring at a computer screen. Yes, it is kind of sad that that’s not our destiny. But at least, now we know.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time (and more importantly sitting in a bad posture) has been linked to organ damage, slowing of brain functions, back pain and a lot more.
This infographic from Daily Inforgraphic gives you a look at everything that’s wrong with sitting and what you can do about it. Click on the image for expanded view.
Patel estimates that on average, people who sit too much shave a few years off of their lives. – New York Times
The video above shows the perils of sitting at a day job and what you can do about it. Turns out, simply standing up from your chair every thirty minutes and doing some lunges or calf raises does wonders for your health.
6. Just Get A Standing Desk
And I’m not talking about buying a fancy $1000 automatic height adjustment desk. You frankly don’t need that. Do you live in a place where there’s an Ikea nearby? Or you can get a night stand, simple boards and brackets? You can easily build a standing desk for $22.
But I’ll do you a solid favor – you can build a standing desk for free. Just with things you’ve got lying around your house. I made one just by propping up a stool I had lying around on my existing desk (image below). Yes, it won’t be featured in Apartment Therapy but it works. If you’re starting out with standing desks, make sure you take regular breaks, wear shoes or stand on a yoga mat so you don’t burn out quickly.
The only thing you need to remember while setting up a standing desk – however you’re doing it – is again, posture. The set up to be ergonomic.
Tinkering Monkey (UPDATE: This tool is not available anymore) has a great guide on how to build a standing desk and what’s the optimum position for components. The image below is something you should aim for. Straight back, arms forming a perfect “L” when rested on the table and the top half of the monitor straight in front of your eyes.
If you’re using a laptop, you can’t really get away with the hand placement posture. If it gets too uncomfortable, consider getting a Bluetooth keyboard.
7. Lastly, Do Nothing For 2 Minutes
Seems simple doesn’t it? It’s not. But that’s the challenge. Just launch this website and try to relax, try to not think about that deadline or how your team is performing in the fantasy football. Shut down, take some deep breaths, for just two minutes. It will do you good.
Any other such simple health tips you know about? Do us a favor and post it in the comments. The Gods and Humans of 21st century shall thank you.