Humans simply weren’t designed to sit at desks for 8 to 10 hours a day – and yet that’s precisely what 8 out of 10 modern workers do. While you may associate work injuries with heavy-lifting industries, office employees run the risk of health consequences over time. Sitting at a desk for extended periods can lead to long-term problems, including neck, back, and shoulder pain; carpal tunnel syndrome; obesity; stress; and a range of musculoskeletal disorders.
Even if you do have a career that keeps you tethered to a desk for hours every day, there are measures you can take to prevent ill effects. Consider the following precautions:
Sit Smart. Make sure that your desk chair is sized properly, at an appropriate height for your work surface, and has good lumbar support. Try to maintain a relaxed and upright posture, and use a wrist rest if it helps. Some people prefer a non-traditional, kneeling-style chair or even a large exercise ball to sit on. Standing desks have also gained popularity in recent years, although this might not be an option for every office space. Everyone’s different, so do what feels right for you.
Move. Get up and walk around to change your position every 30 minutes. Just a few minutes will do the trick – get a glass of water, check in with a coworker, or do a lap around the office. This is also a great opportunity to give your eyes a rest and reduce screen fatigue.
Eat Wisely. Unfortunately, sitting at a desk just doesn’t require the same calorie load as more active careers. Over the years, the weight can creep up, resulting in a multitude of health problems. Sip calorie-free beverages throughout the day such as water and green tea, and bring healthy snacks like raw fruits and veggies to curb cravings. In addition, consider limiting lunches out to an occasional treat, or make good choices if this is an unavoidable part of your week.
Stretch. Performing a few simple stretches throughout your workday can make a positive difference in how your body feels. There are great tutorials available online that will walk you through some basic moves. Most can easily become part of your day as a desk jockey.
This article from Health Line shows a variety of “deskercises” where you stay seated in your chair. Or, if you’d like to combine gentle stretching with a break from sitting, this repertoire from Spafinder includes stretches that involve standing and using the back of your chair for support. Finally, have an awareness of your state of being and address issues before they spiral out of control. Sore neck? Try some gentle rolls. Tense shoulders? Give shrugs a try. In the end, it’s all about listening to what your body needs.
Tags: Exercise, Health, Office Workout