Working a 9-5 might pay the bills but what does it do on your overall health? Sitting at a desk for 7-8 hours a day can have a serious impact on your mind, body, and soul. On average most people sit for about 8 hours a day or more. Sitting for prolonged periods of time can be harmful to our health.
Side Effects Of Prolonged Sitting
I don't know about you but I am able to check a few things off this list. Poor posture, tight muscles especially my IT bands all suffer from sitting more often than not.
Doesn't this information just make you want to go out and buy a treadmill-ready vertical desk? Not so fast, you don't need all those gimmicks to reduce the risk of sitting side effects. Here are a few tips to help you survive sitting at your desk all day long.
How To Survive Sitting All Day
First, let's start off by saying that 60-75 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a day can counterbalance the effects of sitting too much. The impact of just moving around is profound.
Fix Your Working Space
Set the right chair and height to desk ratio! Sit in a chair with your shoulders relaxed and pulled back (think great posture). Now that you are sitting tall if your forearms are parallel to the ground or lower you do not need to reach up to your keyboard. This will cause shrugging in your shoulders. If the desk is not at the proper height to your chair your shoulders will shrug up, put stress on your neck, shoulders, and make you feel tense.
Pick out a great chair! Find a chair that can adjust in height so you can set your feet on the floor, make sure there is a great cushion to sit on and has proper lower back support. If you don't have a great chair, see if your department can order a new one and let them know it will increase your productivity.
Set up your monitor and computer properly. If you are on a laptop all day chances are you are hunched over a tiny screen and keyboard. Try using a desktop if possible. You should be able to look straight ahead into your monitor and you shouldn't have to adjust your neck or angle of your head to view the screen. If you are on a laptop try adjusting the height and angle of your laptop at your desk. Raising your viewing angle is enough to keep from slouching over.
You will need to move around, stand when possible, and whatever you do, don't sit in the same position for 8 straight hours!
Set a timer so every 20 minutes you get up to do something. This is a great time to say hi to a co-worker, network, go to the bathroom, go outside for lunch, do a lap around the office, etc.
Check out these Deskercise options to get you moving! Just be careful of space, rolling chairs, and if you are wearing a dress (I'll admit I wear a dress almost every day).
You can also join the standing desk movement if your office budget allows for it. I have a standing desk and I oftentimes still find myself sitting. I'll try to go a few hours standing but consider the shoes you wear to work, what activities do you do while working, and space and floor you have. Today there are tons of options for standing desks at different price points.
Get a bosu ball to sit on. I find these to sometimes not be tall enough for my desk and a potential hazard in the workplace. No, I'm not talking about throwing the ball at your "favorite" co-worker. I have actually fallen off my bosu ball a few times and went crashing into my cube wall. When I have hip flexor issues the bosu ball does actually helps relieve the pressure.
The most important take away for anyone in an office job is to get up and walk around a little. I drink a gallon of water so you bet I'm running out of the office to take a bathroom break every 15 minutes. Do what you need to do to stay healthy, productive, and happy!