According to countless new articles and studies, sitting all day is, well, very bad for you. It can lead to chronic bad pain, problems with posture, and a host of illness tied to sedentary life. Even if you are active in your personal life, however, simply having an office job where you don’t get up and move frequently can bring some long term consequences and damage to your body.
Here are a few tips that can help!
Watch your posture
Setting your computer a bit higher, so your eyes align with it, can help you keep a straighter back at work. Breathe in, pull your shoulders back and sit up straight! It’s led to a new trend to standing up when you’re at your computer by putting it on a high enough surface, like a standing desk.
Few workplaces are progressive enough to make the switch, however, so you may be stuck sitting down at your desk for a few years to come. Saddle stools are a great way to force your body to adopt a better posture: by separating your hips, they make a stronger, better aligned vertebral position necessary. Long term use can prevent and relieve lower and upper back pain!
Getting up every few minutes and stretching can make a huge difference, but it can be hard to do so, partly because it’s so ingrained not too in many office cultures. By getting up every twenty minutes or so and getting and drinking a small glass of water, for example, you can get a two-birds-one-stone effect: it’ll be easier to reach an ideal amount of daily water intake (which is a staggering two litres!) and you’ll have an opportunity to increase blood flow.
Visit the chiropractor
As the aptly named Tim Sit discovered in this Globe and Mail article, a visit to the chiropractor can help you diagnose the muscle categories that are most affected by long term sitting, and prescribe different exercises that can help you counter negative effects. Integrating them into your daily routine might be difficult, or even embarrassing, but your boss and co-workers’ potential judgments are definitely worth overcoming: especially since, as the article mentions, the least active workers at the office tended to have a staggering three hours less productivity than the ones who got up and moved around frequently.
Get a massage
Massage, especially deep tissue massage, can help relax muscles and alleviate back pain, and more generally enhance blood circulation. Two of the problems brought about by sitting for too long are that blood circulation in the legs tapers off, and the body tends to burn fewer calories as well. Massage can help recover from this slow blood circulation, and make it much more pleasant to move around, as your muscles will feel less tight and sore. It also helps reduce stress levels, which can be very high in an office setting anyways!