We all know that sitting down all day can be bad for your health, but in reality many of us with desk jobs can find it difficult to avoid. This sedentary lifestyle can contribute to a variety of health-related problems, so here are some simple ways you can easily add movement to your workday to help boost productivity and improve your health.
Sitting down for eight hours straight in the office has become the new norm for many employees. In fact, during the workweek, people now spend just as much time at their desk as they do asleep. However, it’s important to know that this behaviour can be bad for your health.
Evidence shows that sitting down for prolonged periods of time can lead to back and neck problems, increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, as well as tight hips and weak gluteal muscles which can make you more prone to injury. It could even inhibit your productivity at work by limiting the amount of blood flowing to your brain.
There are a number of simple things you can do to add movement to your workday. Firstly, it is recommended to take an active break from sitting every 30 minutes. This doesn’t mean you have to run a mile every half hour or start doing squats at your desk, but you can take one to two minutes to walk around the office or head to the kitchen to grab some water.
Other simple things you can do to keep moving during the working day include: taking the stairs rather than the elevator; hosting a meeting standing up; walking around while on the phone; or taking time to walk over to a co-worker’s desk instead of firing off a quick email. You can even do some simple ‘deskercises’ without having to leave your chair. These short bouts of activity will help prevent some of the health problems associated with a desk job.
Even when you’re not moving, it’s important to ensure you are sitting at your desk correctly with a good posture. It’s recommended to follow the 90-90-90 rule, which means that your feet should be flat on the floor, your knees and hips bent at 90 degree angles, and your arms comfortably resting at 90 degrees. Your computer screen should also be at eye level to prevent any slouching.
In recent years many companies have also been making the switch to standing desks, which research suggests not only help to keep you moving but could boost productivity by as much as 46%. Experts recommend a combination of sitting and standing which is why most standing desks will offer an adjustable feature to make it easy to change the height of the desk throughout the day. Check out the infographic below to see how best to stand at a standing desk to get maximum benefit.
If you do experience back pain or other discomfort when sitting at your desk then you should consult your doctor for further advice. In the meantime, if you’re reading this blog while sitting down, why not take a minute to get up and move around?