Why is office life probably healthiest you’ll ever have?
You might have seen your classmates and childhood friends, who have active professions like a personal trainer, soldiers, mountain guides, and backpackers. They are fit, looking healthy and enjoying life. “Why wouldn’t they, as having opportunities to keep an active lifestyle” – you think.
I had an idea back then, that if you backpack around the world, your general well-being increases. Well, because, one goes on hikes often, one walks a lot by wondering around the city, one can buy freshest fruits just off a tree, one meets lots of other people. Before my last trip to South America, I wondered to highly improve my physical wellbeing by spending a huge amount of time in nature, in the mountains hiking, in comparison to sitting behind a computer for days. Well, I failed miserably to achieve higher activity levels backpacking than working in an office.
Downsides of backpacking regarding wellbeing, because it’s generally unpredictable. Backpacking in developing countries capitals, you are stuck in barely moving traffic, as you constantly inhale car fumes. Also, getting a proper healthy food sometimes is a challenge, also, if you want to carry it in your backpack. My daily steps were down as well, during days in office, I average around 17 000 steps a day, while in backpacking average was more about 10 000. Moreover, finding and going to a gym is not worth it if doing every time in the different location.
Office-life gives you freedom, as long as you have willpower. Having to go to work at a fixed time, gives you meaning and routine into your life. As Jocko Willink repeats frequently – “Discipline equals freedom”. And I couldn’t agree more. If you in a routine to go to work every day at 9 am, when alarm buzzes, you get up and go. You know by heart what to do. You know, that you have eaten breakfast and rush to a gym, because, otherwise, you would be late for work. On the other hand, if you don’t have a fixed schedule for a day, you might snooze your alarm, you might think for an extended period what to do with your day. The sense of responsibility diminishes. The sense of urgency decreases. You might roll in your bed for another half an hour, which is the worst start of the day.
Make at least 250 steps an hour
Extended hours of sitting isn’t good. Your heart slows down, you become sleepy, calory burn-rate decreases. But, you don’t need to. On an hourly basis, you can go for a short walk for example 250 steps (Fitbit reminds you to move every hour for at least 250 steps). I usually go from the 6th floor down to the ground floor and back up. It increases my heart rate and refreshes your mind. If you mind, what your boss would say, then he/she probably understands, that at least hourly breaks increase your productivity, you break patterns of overthinking and also might come up with a new idea. In the UK, it’s even illegal to force employees to sit for more than 75mins at a time.
Standing desk – Sitting is the new smoking
Getting or asking for a standing desk is always a great choice. It doesn’t have to be expensive as I been placing a laptop into a cupboard. In case of my office, it was just a matter of writing few emails, and weeks later, I got my (first in an office) standing desk. This way you’ll cut dangerous sitting time almost entirely.
Hit gym in a morning
I started hitting a gym in a morning, before going to an office. There are several reasons why
1) It gives you energy for a whole day
2) After a heavy squatting or deadlifting day, it takes me 4-6 hours to wind down and fall asleep. If I would workout in evenings, I would have troubles falling asleep.
3) In mornings, gyms are emptier, as the majority of people tends to go after work
4) “Eat that frog”, and do the most difficult thing first things in a morning.
5) Jumping out of bed each morning is a proper way to start your day, in comparison to snoozing alarm. Just be aware, that it would take you few weeks to stop yawning in a gym and your body get used to the schedule. Please don’t go to the extremes and wake up 5 am next day if you normally wake up at 8 am. Make it a gradual change.
Maintain healthy relationships
Most important factor for your wellbeing is your social circle (TED talk here). Probably longest study in the science history found out that our social connections determine our health factors as well. It would make sense as we evolved as social creatures. Working in an office, in comparison to vagabonding, helps to maintain healthy relationships with your loved ones. You always have time to message them during working hours or call them during a commute. No matter how far are they. Probably you meet them on daily basis anyway. Nomad’s life could really limit these connections. As could other professions requiring lots of travelling or staying away for extended periods.