If you're like the >60% Americans who eat at your desk (myself included), you probably think that you're getting more work done by staying at your computer's side throughout the entire day. Unfortunately, that isn't the case.
Creativity Craves Time Away
Research has found that the longer you stay at your office, the more important it is for you to get outside -- even if just for a few minutes -- as your critical thinking and creativity will suffer when you remain in the same stagnant environment for too long.
“Staying inside, in the same location, is really detrimental to creative thinking.” Says Kimberly Elsbach, a Professor at University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management. “It's also detrimental to doing that rumination that's needed for ideas to percolate and gestate and allow a person to arrive at an 'aha' moment.”
Snacking = Sneaky Weight Gain
Sitting at your desk makes you much more prone to snack or eat fattening foods throughout the day. Bringing in TV dinners and hitting up vending machines (or the coworker that provides free candy -- guilty) packs on extra calories throughout the day that more likely than not aren't being countered by the recommended daily 2 hours of exercise. If you simply must eat at your desk, make sure that you have healthy options for your meals and snacks like salads, grilled chicken, and fruits.
Sitting Can Be Deadly (No, Really)
Studies show that if you sit for more than 8 hours a day, you have a 34h% higher risk of developing heart failure in comparison to those who sit less than 2 hours a day. On top of that, some scientists suggest that sitting for excessive periods of time is just as bad -- or worse -- than smoking!
“Today, our bodies are breaking down from obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression and the cascade of health ills and everyday malaise that come from what scientists have named sitting disease.” ~ James Levine, MD, PhD
It's recommended to get up for at least three minutes every hour to stretch your legs. Go take a bathroom break, grab a drink of water, or just walk down the hallway to get some exercise in. An even better alternative to that is to invest in a standing desk - it reduces your risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, among other diseases. Pro tip, though: although it's great in concept, a treadmill desk isn't the life changer you'd expect it to be.
Do you eat your lunch at your desk? Or do you prefer to eat it outside? What about with your coworkers? Share your thoughts below!