Our bodies were meant to be in an active state the majority of the time. As humans have evolved, we have found easier ways to complete everyday tasks using technology. Although these advancements have created easier and more efficient ways of doing things, they also encourage us to move around less. With this in mind, it’s important that you are aware of the health risks that inactive lifestyles can cause, your daily activity levels and how you correct them if need be.
On average, Americans sit for about 10 hours per day. Studies show that sitting for more than 4 hours can lead to reduced calorie-burning, disrupted blood sugar levels and increased insulin/blood pressure levels. Furthermore, an inactive lifestyle can cause serious health risks as it continues to progress, such as back, neck and shoulder pain, obesity and heart disease, to name a few.
In order to combat these health risks, you can simply add a few extra activities to your everyday life. For starters, you need to get up and move more at the office! You can disrupt inactive tendencies by practicing desk exercises and stretches in between tasks. These movements will allow you to take a break from your screen, break the sedentary cycle and, most importantly, stretch out your back, neck and shoulder muscles that seize up after sitting for long periods of time.
After months or years of working in the same environment, it’s possible for you to slip into bad habits, especially with your desk setup. Most employees don’t realize how much their desk setup can affect them over time, so be sure to make the necessary adjustments to your workspace based on your needs, height, reach and ailments.
Start by adjusting the height and back support of your chair so that your eyes are in line with your screen and you’re sitting up straight, as this will relieve the pressure on your spine. Next, adjust your armrests so your shoulders are slightly lifted. This support will keep you from slouching and leaning forward causing tension in your neck and shoulders. Now that your chair is set into place, you can start to consider the other factors of your workstations like desk accessories. Make sure your most frequently used items are organized and within reach; this will eliminate your need to overreach and your risk of pulling a muscle.
If you want to take extra steps to relieve back pain, you can purchase or request a standing or adjustable desk, a laptop or monitor stand and a new pair of eyeglasses if needed. An adjustable desk will give you the ability to go from sitting to standing seamlessly, allowing you to change positions and move around without disrupting your work. This movement will also increase blood flow and heart rate, keeping you focused and alert, while also relieving the tension on your spine when you switch from sitting to standing. A laptop or monitor stand gives you more mobility when adjusting your chair and it will help taller people keep their screens in their sightline and combat slouching. Lastly, vision problems tend to make employees lean or hunch forward to get a closer look at their screens. By making sure your eyeglasses and prescription are up to date with a new pair of eyeglasses, you’ll be able to sit up straight and engage with your screen without a hitch.
A Regular Exercise Routine
Having a regular exercise routine set into place will also help you avoid back pain while sitting at the office. Practicing desk exercises, stretches and proper ergonomics will alleviate stress on your spine. If there is a deeper underlying problem, adjust your personal habits by strengthening the muscles in your back to support your spine, practice some forms of physical therapy to correct your spine and see a physician, pain specialist, or chiropractor if you’re really struggling with pain or alignment.
By simply adjusting your workspace and adding some easy exercises and stretches into your everyday routine, you will be slowly correcting any back problems you may be experiencing. If you stay committed and make yourself aware of the factors that are causing you pain, you will begin to feel as good as new.
Contribution from Garrett Foro