Are you staying healthy at work?

Healthy at work

Work can be the cause of many health issues including eye strain, back pain and much more. It’s important to be aware of factors affecting your health and how to improve them. Use these fun and easy DIY health checks to make sure you’re in tip top condition. These tests will cover everything from brain to body strength and can be done easily in the workplace!


Chinese Whispers

How to: Ask someone to stand approximately a meter behind you and whisper the following sounds: ‘mm’, ‘oo’, ‘ah’, ‘ee’ and ‘sh’ in a random order. Now see if you can repeat them accurately.

Success: Your hearing is fabulous! Be sure to get hearing checks every once in a while, to stay healthy.

Failure: If you couldn’t hear too well during this test or missing words in conversations sometimes, get checked. Every day wear and tear and exposure to loud noise can damage tiny hair cells in the inner ear. If you listen to headphones whilst working, make sure you keep them to a safe volume.

Tree Pose

Balancing Act

How to: Stand on one leg on flat and stable ground. The test is most accurate if you are barefoot but it’s probably a good idea not to offend your colleagues. Use a timer to see if you can balance for 20 seconds.

Success: Awesome. Japanese research shows that in some cases, the inability to balance is a link to small blood vessel damage in the brain. Damage like this could be an indication of future strokes or cognitive decline. Another less serious explanation could be

Failure: It is a commonly accepted assumption that physical health and brain health are closely related. Risk factors for strokes including high blood pressure, furred up arteries and atrial fibrillation are also risk factors for dementia.

Although this sounds very scary and serious, a few lifestyle tweaks can help reduce risks. A good aim for the average person is to spend 30 minutes doing moderate exercise 5 times a week. For most of us that could be walking to work/ train station in favour of driving or other simple swaps. Diet is also a key factor in reducing risks for hundreds of health risks. Try eating more fruit and vegetables instead of carbohydrates and salty foods. Remember, it’s always a good idea to get your blood pressure checked by a professional time to time.

Another less serious explanation could be an inner ear disorder. Your ears help gather information and messages in relation to motion, equilibrium and spatial orientation. When these messages aren’t sent to the brain properly this can cause balance and spatial awareness issues.

Sitting Down

Sitting to Standing

How to: Try to sit on the floor without using your hands for support. Easy? Now try standing back up again without using your hands. Sitting in a cross-legged position will make this test easier and safer.

Success: Being able to not use your hands for support on this test means your muscles are strong. It also means you have a good level of stability and core strength. An easy way to increase your core muscles at work is to try and engage them as much as possible. Making a conscious effort to use and tense these muscles regularly will boost their strength. Another easy solution is to use a Swiss ball instead of a chair.

Failure: Don’t worry – you can easily improve. This test gives you glimpse of how strong, flexible and co-ordinated you are. These key factors have a direct link to longevity. Work needs to be done on lower body strength and core strength to complete the test successfully.

Try adding squats into your routine, along with ab exercises. Some other great practices to try are Pilates and Yoga – you can find many free tutorials online.


Touch Test

How to: Press down firmly on a finger nail. The skin under the nail should turn pale. Take note if the colour quickly returns to a healthy pink colour.

Success: If the nail returns to pink very quickly then that is a pass! Alternatively, if the pink colour is slow to return this could be an indication of iron deficiency anaemia.

Failure: It’s always a good idea to ask your GP for a blood test if you have any health worries. It may find that you have an iron deficiency or low red blood cell count. These could also be an explanation for other health issues such as shortness of breath, tiredness and more. To combating such issues can be done by eating green veggies, meat and brown rice – all easy things to incorporate into your lunch.

Flexi Time

How to: Place your hands back to back with your fingers pointing to the ground. Hold this position for 60 seconds.

Success: If you have no tingling, burning or numbness then your wrists are perfectly healthy! Employers should provide an ergonomic workplace assessment to those who are suffering aches and pains. Keep in mind how you’re using equipment such as keyboards and mice.

Failure: Carpal tunnel syndrome could be a potential issue. Compression of the median nerve in the wrist causes pain and discomfort. If you’re straining your wrists and hands regularly, it’s a good idea to introduce some physio into your routine. Download the Work Break Timer app and work out those pressure points. Recent studies show that alternating between sitting and standing every 30 minutes increases health and productivity. A great way to incorporate this into your work routine is to use a sit stand desk.

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