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7 Tips For Surviving Office Work

Last week finished off with a regular client of mine who hasn’t been able to get in for some time.

The reason he couldn’t get in is down to work commitments.

As my gym is situated right beside the Irish Financial District in Dublin, his story is a disturbingly frequent one I hear.

It goes like this:

Keen amateur athlete / fitness enthusiast who knows their mind and body craves movement, exercise and challenge. Takes job in Dublins IFSC area, there’s a glut of IT work here so getting a decent paid job isn’t too hard. Job seems great, finds Wg-Fit and starts attending either Bootcamp (before work), Lunchtimes (erm, on their lunch break) or the evening Kettlebell classes.

Life is good.

Then the job goes quiet so someone gets cut from the department.

Now business picks back up, but no extra staff are hired. Lunchbreaks get shorter. The 5pm whistle becomes 6pm. Becomes 7pm.

Work takes over. Training suffers.

And before long, the body starts to rebel.

Back pain.

Neck pain.

Knees/ shoulders/wrists

Mobility takes a dive.

Something has to give.


This was exactly what happened to the lad I saw on Saturday. He was the third person with that story that week. Many of my Lunchtime crew tell the same story. Many of my Bootcamp crew are always sharing tales of woe from their respective offices.

So here’s my office work survival tips for you.

  1. Move as often as you can. I recommend setting a countdown timer to go off every 20-30 minutes. DO NOT ignore it. When it goes off, get up and move. Move any which way you want, walk/squat/stretch whatever.

  2. There is NO SUCH THING as good posture! The human body is not designed to be static, so shift positions, sit differently, sit straight, slouch, lean left or right, kneel, squat, stand. Shift position regularly.

  3. No matter how ergonomically designed your workstation may be, it’s never good enough. Find ways to adjust it regularly.

  4. Standing desks are merely the other extreme to a sitting desk. Neither is better than the other, they’re just different. Switching between the two is better again.

  5. Play eye games to utilise the muscles inside the eye ball responsible for changing the focus. Simply looking away from the screen to focus on objects at different distances down the room helps, as does getting away from artificial light, even for a few minutes.

  6. If you use public transport, stand at least some of the time, play with balance, can you hold onto the supports with the lightest possible grip and not lose your balance?

Nutrition and hydration

Any office I’ve visited has been full of sweets, coffee, muffins and pastries. So keep a bottle of water beside you at all times, try to get around 2 litres of water into you over the day, and don’t mindlessly graze on crap.

If your boss has any objections to any of this, tell him to go stuff himself. He can’t argue with the hundreds of clinical studies that all agree that exercise and regular breaks from the desk actually increase productivity!

Or just get yourself booked in for a postural assessment, get in lifting, and start working to live, rather than living to work.


Dave Hedges

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