Health experts have long decried the ramifications of being stagnant, or in other words, sitting too long.
Sitting for hours on end results in less energy being spent compared to moving around, and this has been linked to multiple health concerns.
“They include obesity and a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels — that make up metabolic syndrome. Too much sitting overall and prolonged periods of sitting also seem to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer,” says Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.
But offices are catching on, and with the rise of work-from-home culture, home offices provide a great way to integrate more movement and healthy practices for your 9-5 computer job.
Some of the best leather furniture manufacturers also make great office chairs, with wheels and adjustments for any person.
“Movement is the key to good muscular-skeletal health,” says Matt Birtles, principal ergonomist at the Health and Safety Executive, when being interviewed by Emine Saner for the Guardian.
One cost-effective way to incorporate movement into your day is to stand and work, or talk a walk during your next phone or zoom meeting. Or if you are intent on staying at your desk, try standing desks or adjustable seats.
A word to the wise, there are specific techniques in your own posture that make your sedentary time most effective, and least harmful to you.
But while incorporating this checklist to correct your posture is helpful, the effects of sitting too often, for long periods of time, cannot be easily erased by a quick cardio session at the gym.
Targeting certain areas of your body in your workouts will help lessen the strain put on your body from sitting.
The most important area is your core, where the abdominal and low back muscles connected to your spine and pelvis are located. Your core can be strengthened in a variety of ways, but focus on abdominal work, squats, and planks.
Seated stretches such as rotating your neck, stretching your arms and fingers, rolling your ankles, or shrugging your shoulders up and down, are all small ways to incorporate movement into your daily routine, helping your body fight the effects of sedentary behaviour.
Outside of your gym routine, be sure to follow these quick tips to optimize your seating arrangement during office hours:
- Keep your limbs aligned in 90 degree angles while you work. This includes your arms, in a resting and relaxed position on your desk, and your legs, with both feet firmly on the floor and knees at 90 degrees. If you need to, adjust your desk height, or buy a raised footrest that brings your knees up the proper height.
- Avoid craning your neck forward and tilting your eyesight downward by propping up your desktop monitor or laptop to eye level.
- Keep your 90 degree angle when you reach for your keyboard or mouse, and try keep your shoulders relaxed while typing.