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Fit in the office – an inspiration

Fit in the office - an inspiration

Working in an office only appears to be harmless to our health. On closer inspection, it turns out that our bodies are not at all suited for it and need a permanent balance to prevent permanent damage to the body and soul. This article is perhaps the last step to motivate you to lead a balanced and healthy life.

“Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens, you have to say it again and again.”
André Gide

That’s how it is and this article will be no different, because this time it’s about the recurring theme: health. It’s not just about health in the office, because unlike the many devices we surround our lives with, we can’t switch off our mental and physical well-being when we get off work. It accompanies us throughout our lives and largely determines its quality.

An Investment

Healthcare can be seen as an investment or a type of insurance. It costs time and money. Since time is money, it costs money squared. And as long as you feel fit as a fiddle, there is little point in sacrificing valuable resources unnecessarily. The perfidious thing about the situation is that the longer you procrastinate, the more expensive it ends up being. As Voltaire aptly put it: “In the first half of our lives, we sacrifice our health to acquire money; in the second half, we sacrifice our money to regain health.”

Health risks in the office

I am the safety officer in our company, which is why the health of people at work is particularly important to me. After all, we spend on average half of our waking hours at work.

From the outside, life in the office really does seem to be a tepid existence with few health risks: you sit in a comfortable chair, can eat and drink at any time and even have time for a chat with colleagues from time to time. However, most people now know that there are many health risks lurking here, both for the body and the mind. In fact, our bodies are not designed for this type of activity and so they need regular rebalancing. In the following sections, I will address the problems individually and make suggestions for prevention.

Ultimately, however, it is up to you to carry them out. Of course you know all this, but until you put it into practice, you don’t really know anything – nothing about whether you can muster the necessary discipline, what effects it will have on your body, mind and daily routine, and how the people around you will react to these changes.

For better or worse, you have to jump over your own shadow and give it a try, despite all the obstacles and excuses that immediately spring to mind. But under no circumstances should you go too far. Banish your ambition! It can only do harm in this case. The much-vaunted perseverance is actually much more important: make preventive healthcare your daily companion and try not to let this chain break. This means consistently doing something for your health every day, come what may.


Of course, we are not (just) at work for fun. We are under constant time and performance pressure. This means that we are constantly under stress, which is extrinsically motivated.

Our body, which has evolved over millions of years, goes into a heightened state of alert, fight or flight when under stress. Corresponding hormones are released to enable us to react quickly. However, we cannot simply flee or even attack in the office, which would put the body back into normal mode. This keeps us in a constant state of alert, in a state of emergency, which will definitely damage the body in the long run.

To overcome this pressure, you should first question the causes and possibly determine whether the stress is really justified. If this is the case, then you can try to redirect the stress intrinsically, i.e. motivate yourself and see it in a positive light, e.g. you could see the onrushing flood of tasks as an interesting challenge, a competition or visualize the positive implications of the goal at the end of the drudgery. This reduces the fear of failure and gives you a sense of control, which reduces the negative effects of stress. In addition, you should actually give your body what it needs from time to time, namely exercise. This is the only way to relieve the tension that the body has put itself under. It is a fallacy to assume that stress can only be completely balanced out by getting enough rest. Quite apart from the fact that we usually don’t allow ourselves enough rest anyway.


Our brain is an extremely powerful organ. Unfortunately, it also has its limits: concentration, receptivity and, above all, creativity diminish over the course of the day. The brain requires regular breaks of five to ten minutes approximately every ninety minutes. Unfortunately, we often don’t allow our brains to rest during these breaks because we are surfing the internet, reading social media posts or watching TV. This prevents the mind from recovering. The best thing is a walk in the fresh air, meditation or a power nap, i.e. a short nap of ten to a maximum of twenty minutes. I am always amazed at how productive I am after such a high-quality break.


Most people work in front of a screen in the office, looking at it for a very long time and with great concentration. Even if you keep the prescribed distance, it is a strenuous and unnatural activity for the eyes, which are actually designed to be in constant motion. They tire and dry out.

Here too, breaks are essential, especially those where you can close your eyes for a few minutes.


People develop the best performance and balance when they sleep between seven and nine hours a night. Only very few people manage this these days. The brain uses this time to organize the impressions of the day and thus develop creativity and inspiration. It is essential that we get enough sleep. A lack of sleep is a method of torture and not only leads to a lack of concentration, but also to an excessive appetite for fatty and sweet foods.


Everything we are and what we are made of, we have absorbed from our environment through our food and drink. Our body is so ingeniously constructed that it can use practically anything organic to generate energy or build cells. Since there was a lot of food shortage in evolution, the body developed the fantastic ability to store energy in the very efficient form of body fat for the “bad days”. But it is also a creature of habit, it quickly gets used to the amount of food we feed it every day, regardless of whether it needs it or not, and adapts accordingly, for example by gradually stretching the stomach more and more. And so we still feel hungry, even though our daily requirement has been covered by far.

Now, the daily requirement at a VDU workstation is low due to the virtually non-existent movement. Anything in excess of this is stored.

In addition, our food is of extremely high quality. It contains a lot of energy in relation to its volume and substances that normally do not occur in nature at all or only very rarely: Sugar, salt and fat. This is where the hunger to store up reacts and we feel the need to consume as much of these good things as possible.

Unfortunately, these foods have practically no vitamins, minerals and fiber, which are just as essential for the body, but are very common in nature and are therefore taken for granted.
The consumption of such foods leads to long-term damage to the body through fatty degeneration of the arteries and, due to the increasing weight, to a strain on the heart, tendons and joints.

You can now use this knowledge to control your own diet with common sense, as you cannot rely on your body’s own instincts under any circumstances. In fact, it is a battle against yourself, as the body wants to insist on its rights and always wants to have its supplies replenished.

Fluid deficiency

The brain consists of eighty percent fluid and urgently needs it to function properly. Just one percent less water leads to a twenty percent reduction in performance. The tricky thing is that you don’t even notice that you are dehydrated, so it is advisable to always carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go and to drink regularly even if you are not thirsty.
At this point, the objection is often raised that you can drink too much (more than 5 liters per day!). However, this can be safely ignored, as most people tend to drink too little (less than 1.5 liters per day). In addition, the need for fluids increases even more in warm temperatures and during sport.

Lack of exercise

We assume that your workstation and seat are ergonomically designed. Nevertheless, our bodies are simply not designed to remain motionless in one place for so long. “Sitting is the new smoking” claims the title of the book by Kelly Starrett (et al.), a fact that has long been known but often ignored. Yet our body is so optimized that it does not need constant movement to create a balance.

Half an hour a day of a mixture of endurance and strength exercises followed by stretching is perfectly sufficient. The important thing is to do it regularly, ideally every day. And nobody can tell me that he or she doesn’t have half an hour a day for their health, but does have time for their TV series, TV or social media…

However, as mentioned above, you should bury your ambition deep down. Yes, we live in a meritocracy and are trained to perform from an early age, making it difficult to switch off this acquired “reflex”. In addition, we have no sense of our body’s current fitness, but we still remember very well how we achieved top performances in sport at school. Unfortunately, often not much has happened in the decades since, so you really should start small and increase very slowly. Please don’t compare your progress with that of other people in the early days, as this will only be detrimental to your motivation, your psyche and your body.


The bad news is that you have to invest in your health because, unlike our brains, our bodies are not made for office work. The good news, however, is that it doesn’t take that much to keep our bodies fit – all you need is a little time and, above all, discipline.

Just give it a try! Yes, every beginning is difficult and takes effort. There are plenty of excuses not to do it. However, for a complaint-free, energetic and happy life in which you are satisfied with yourself and your body, you could perhaps give it a try.