Does Your 9-5 Have You Sitting Behind Your Desk for Too Long? Here’s How to Stay Active While on the Clock!
Whenever we think of treatment for an injury or physical ailment it usually has to do with medicine, drugs or a prescription. But one of the many benefits of physical therapy is that it helps show you how physical activity is actually medicine!
Our physical therapy team strongly believes that the human body was meant to move, and when it doesn’t, things start to break down. Unfortunately, the environment most of us living in today isn’t optimal for promoting regular physical activity. Many of us sit in chairs for most of the workday, relying on computers and the internet to do the bulk of our occupational duties. With almost all of our work being done while we’re sedentary, there’s little to no time for exercise.
In fact, sitting for too long has been linked to a wide variety of other health problems—including vascular damage in the legs, heart disease, and early mortality. A 2018 research paper published in the American Journal of Nursing also found that sitting for too long (e.g., seven to eight hours per day) can negatively affect your health even if you exercise regularly!
Interested in finding ways to stay healthy and active even if your day job makes it hard? Try these five tips to get moving.
1. Try An Adjustable Stand Up Desk
If your workspace (and perhaps your human resources department or office manager) is alright with it, consider arranging your desk into an adjustable sit to stand workstation. The ability to stand more at work has been shown to not only boost productivity, but it’s also highly beneficial for your psychological health in research studies, including 2018 randomized controlled trial published in BMJ.
2. Eat Lunch or Take Your Meetings Elsewhere
Should we be choosing convenience over our health? Probably not! Likewise, talk to your peers about taking more phone calls and meetings “in transit” (e.g., while going for a walk around the building). Maybe instead of shooting an email or text to your colleague wondering if they finished that report, or maybe if they want to get lunch, get up and walk to their office to deliver the message directly. Of course, privacy matters, you shouldn’t be discussing sensitive issues in places where people may overhear it. But even if you just try to take a few laps around the building during your lunchtime or whenever you have some free time, you’ll definitely be getting yourself out of your seat more often.
3 Put Down The Energy Drinks and Soda, Pick up Some H2O!
When you were in school, was there ever that adult who always preached hydration and encouraged you to drink as much water as you could. Did they dote on you whenever they saw a Dr. Pepper in your hand instead of a bottle of water? Was it annoying? Maybe. But were they wrong? Absolutely not.
Studies have shown that losing as little as 2% of your body’s water content can significantly impair your physical performance. Drinking water keeps your tissues well-perfused, your joints well-lubricated, and your bladder, well, full! You’ll be naturally prompted to get up and walk more since you’ll need more bathroom breaks. So, keep a glass or steel water bottle at your desk and drink up!
4. Remind Yourself To Move
It’s so easy to get caught up in your work. But sitting for more than an hour at a time can be hard on your body and can exacerbate or increase the risk of health problems like neck pain, back pain, and degenerative disc disease.
So, an easy solution when dealing with this is to set a timer to go off at least once per hour. Use this time to take a brief movement break—two or three, or maybe a few more, stretches or exercises in your office or a stroll down the hall.
A physical therapist can offer individualized guidance for improving your posture, optimizing your ergonomic set-up, and establishing a home exercise program—even a work exercise program, for that matter! Our physical therapy staff is also trained in work hardening programs. We can help you heal from and prevent work-related injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatica.
5. Make A Pedometer Your Work Buddy
We know from research studies that wearing a pedometer encourages people to walk more throughout the day—by as much as a mile in some cases! Maybe consider discreetly adding one to your work outfit to push you to move more while you’re on the clock. Don’t feel like shelling out a few extra dollars for one? You can buy inexpensive ones online or in retail stores. Heck, you can even use an app on your phone!
Learn how Fitness Matters can help you lead an active lifestyle and avoid the adverse effects of a sedentary lifestyle.