“Sitting disease” has only started gaining attention from the medical community recently, as new studies show that sitting for extended periods of time can lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer, among other things. Ultimately, a sedentary lifestyle can shorten your lifespan by years if you do not take appropriate measures to counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting. The key aspect of preventing health problems caused by sitting disease is to spend less time sitting and add more physical activity into your daily life. However, you may be wondering how that can be done when you have a desk job or spend long hours sitting during your commute. Not to worry, you don’t need to switch occupations in order to be able to live a healthier life. Here are some tips for avoiding common problems, such as lower metabolism or strains and pain, caused by sitting for extended amounts of time:
- Stand Up
- Many workplaces have introduced standing workstations to help their employees get out of their seat and on to their feet more often during the day while still being able to complete their work. If this option is not available at your workplace, remember to take mini breaks every 20-30 mins from what you’re doing to stand up and stretch. If needed, set a timer to remind yourself to get up from your seated position for a few seconds.
- Stand up whenever you do not need to be seated. Take your calls standing up. Get away from your computer during your breaks and walk around or do some simple stretches and exercises. Go out for lunch or take your packed lunch to a park to eat.
- Take the stairs. When you are away from your desk, try to increase the amount of physical activity you get. A good way to start that won’t get you all sweaty or tired while at work is to take one flight of stairs up or two flights of stairs down before catching the elevator the rest of the way. Increase the amount if you feel comfortable doing more.
- Consider the Ergonomics of Your Work Area.
- Adjust your chair and monitor to a height that is comfortable for you. You should not be straining your eyes or neck to read. The rule of thumb is that you should be at eye level or slightly below the topmost line of text on your monitor.
- Your arms should not have to reach out in order to use the keyboard or mouse. Keep your elbows relaxed at your side and use those arm rests.
- Remember to rest your feet on the ground. If they do not reach, consider using a footstool under your chair.
- Keep your lower back well supported. Use a lumbar pillow or even a rolled up towel if necessary.
These tips will help you inject more physical activity into your work day, help you break up the amount of time you spend sitting, and ensure that you keep a good posture during the time that you do need to be seated to avoid aches, stiffness, strain, and pain. Speak to your chiropractor to see if they have additional tips to help you maintain proper posture while sitting at work or in your car.