If you sit at a desk for most of your day working, you are not alone. Over 100 million people in America sit at a desk for over six hours a day. Many are completely unaware of the health issues that they can encounter as little as one minute into sitting, let alone the long-term effects that can manifest. Below are a few ideas to help counteract the negative effects of sitting at your desk all day and jumpstart your way to protecting your health.
1) Move around at least 5 minutes every hour.
Our bodies are not meant to sit for extended periods of time, but in a desk job, sitting hours a day is more or less inevitable. The minute that you sit down, your body becomes negatively affected. Your metabolism starts to slow down and sitting can cut the circulation flow to your legs, which can cause swelling and numbness. Also, sitting for extended periods of time can have harmful long-lasting effects on your health. People who have sitting jobs are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease and other illnesses than people who have standing jobs. In order to counteract this, try to get up from your desk every hour to stretch your legs and take a little walk to increase blood flow to your legs.
2) Sit at a 135°
When sitting at a desk, you tend to slump forward, putting uneven pressure on your spine and condensing your chest cavity. This creates less space for your lungs to expand when you breathe and cuts the amount of oxygen flowing into your blood, which can in turn; lessen the blood and oxygen flowing to your brain, affecting concentration. When sitting at a desk , you should be sitting at a 135-degree angle to lessen the pressure on your back and open up your chest cavity. Some workers prefer to use fitness balls or standing desks instead of sitting desks since it can not only improve posture, but also increase movement and blood flow in their legs.
3) Eat lunch AWAY from your desk.
When you eat at your desk for lunch, not only are you increasing your time spent sitting, but you may also be choosing foods that are less healthy for you. Eating at your desk can cause mindless eating because you are so distracted by the work you are trying to get done, that you fail to realize how much food you are consuming. Try to get up and socialize with your fellow coworkers during your lunch hour. Research suggests that people who socialize with their coworkers tend to be 10% more productive than those who don't. Plus spending time with coworkers can lead to lower stress and blood pressure levels, the same effects that exercise can create.
So the next time you feel your back starting to ache or you start to fall into that midday slump, get away from your desk and get moving!