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4 cool tools to help you get healthy while you work

Woman on phone working from kitchen bench.
Here's how to improve your workday. (Image: Getty).

Getting fit while you work can sound like an oxymoron if you’re a desk worker. We are told that sitting is the new smoking and that we need to walk over 10,000 steps per day.

But if you’re chained to your desk and in back-to-back video meetings, it can be hard to prioritise health. It’s easy to tell yourself that you just don’t have enough time.

But here’s the irony – if you prioritise your health, you’ll be significantly more productive. You’ll have more energy. You’ll be better able to cope with stress. You’ll be more resilient.

Here are four cool tools that will help you stay healthy during the workday.

The WalkingPad PRO Treadmill and ErgoDesk Automatic Standing Desk

Being a desk-bound worker that also has a goal of walking over 10,000 steps per day can be challenging. Combining work with exercise can be a time effective way to reach that goal.

I recently invested in the WalkingPad PRO Treadmill and ErgoDesk Automatic Standing Desk. As the name suggests, this is an adjustable standing desk with a treadmill that slides in underneath. While I still have a non-walking desktop computer set-up, I now use this treadmill desk as a second workstation.

I use my treadmill desk when I am doing less cognitively intense work, such as checking email and it’s also handy for phone meetings – it allows me to walk and talk as well as take notes on my computer.

I’ve also been known to use it for video meetings, but only where I know my fellow meeting participants well, given it can look a bit strange to have a head bobbing up and down during a video chat.

The WHOOP band

I was previously a long-time user of the Oura ring to track my sleep. But I recently discovered the WHOOP band, which made it onto the 2021 Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies list.

WHOOP is a waterproof wrist band that is designed to optimise the way you sleep and move. The WHOOP band has no screen on it - it's just a band, so you need to open up the WHOOP mobile app to review your data.

The WHOOP band tracks heart rate variability, resting heart rate, sleep, and respiratory rate. With these particular biological markers, it can assess how well you're sleeping, your sleep efficiency, optimises how much time you need to be in bed, and based on this data and your activity levels from the day before, calculates ideally how hard you should push yourself the following day.

It can be useful to run mini experiments with yourself to see how doing certain things, like having wine with dinner, impacts your sleep – although you possibly already know the answer to that one.

And as an added bonus, WHOOP is fairly accurate at predicting if users have COVID.

Tangram Smart Rope

I’m a big fan of skipping and it’s a great way to fit in short bursts of exercise into an otherwise busy day. Being a goal-driven person, I like to aim for a certain number of reps when I skip – but it’s easy to lose count. This is why I love the Smart Rope.

The Smart Rope connects via Bluetooth to your mobile phone and counts your skipping reps for you. There are interval programs if you want some structure or you can simply pick a goal, such as 200 or 300 reps, and skip until you hit the goal. And then get back to work.

After having used the Smart Rope for the better part of a year, I would struggle to go back to a standard skipping rope.

Magic Puzzle Company

Staying mentally healthy is just as important as staying physically healthy. Challenging your mind is a great way to achieve this goal.

I discovered the Magic Puzzle Company via their Kickstarter campaign where they launched three puzzles that each have a secret when you get to the end.

They are 1000-piece puzzles and I’m now onto my third one. They are by far the most challenging jigsaw puzzles I have ever done, and they can act as a great break from work when I want to challenge my brain in a different and novel way.

So don’t let being a desk worker be an excuse for not prioritising health. Try investing in your physical and mental health throughout your workday and you’ll witness your productivity improve as a result.

Dr Amantha Imber is the Founder of Inventium, Australia’s leading behavioural science consultancy and the host of How I Work, a podcast about the habits and rituals of the world’s most successful people.

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