If you work a 9 to 5 desk job, sitting all day pretty much goes with the territory…
You wake up, get ready (maybe even workout) and then head to the office. While working out is a great way to improve strength, stamina and overall health, new studies have shown that even working out can’t combat the damage caused by sitting all day!
So what are you to do? I’ll get to that shortly, but first let’s look at the impact the office life can take on our health.
While perhaps obesity is the first condition brought to mind when you think of a sedentary lifestyle, it is far from the only one. In fact otherwise healthy people may begin to see a decline in their health and wellness simply from remaining in a seated position all day. Countless studies have shown that sitting for prolonged periods of time increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and even death. From a chiropractic standpoint, the damage to your spine, hips and overall alignment is plentiful.
More than half of the hours an average person is awake are spent sitting, according to a recent USA Today article on the topic. Additional studies suggest that between 50% and 70% of Americans spend six or more hours of each day sitting! If you consider all the time spent at your desk, driving and watching TV at night, it’s no real surprise that those hours add up.
When it comes to your spinal alignment, the way that you sit (and even how you sleep) can impact your comfort as well as your health. One of the most common impacts of prolonged sitting is that the hip muscles begin to tighten from lack of movement while in the hinged position throughout the day. You may start noticing back pain or neck stiffness as well. While sitting in the office all day every day isn’t likely to change for many of us, we can help our bodies minimize the impact.
So how do you combat the damage of the 9 to 5 lifestyle?
Get up at least every 30 minutes
Sitting at your desk for hours without getting up isn’t only mind-numbing but it’s unhealthy for your joints, muscles and spine health. Begin the routine of standing up for at least 5 minutes before returning to a seated position again.
Don’t be afraid to look silly, stretching in your office or cubicle is a great way to keep muscles loose and back pain at bay. Try even doing a few stretches with co-workers. Not only will your body feel better, but a break from staring at the computer screen can help boost productivity. Try getting into a nice hip flexor stretch at least once daily. This will help keep your hips from tightening up throughout the day.
If in person communication is possible, do it!
In our digital world, co-workers may be 50 feet away physically but just a click of the mouse is all it takes to ask a question or reach out. Break out of the habit or relying on digital communication. If you need to speak to someone in your office, use this as a moment to get up and stretch.
Set a reminder
If you find that you are the type to lose track of time and get buried in work, try setting a timer to remind yourself to get up and stretch. Chances are that once you get used to doing this, you won’t even need to set it anymore.
While chiropractic adjustments are important no matter your line of work, if you are sitting the majority of your day, your body is out of alignment. Many of us slouch in our chairs, cross our knees, lean too far forward or have a variety of other posture problems in addition to just simply sitting. All this pressure and discomfort will begin to add up. Come in for a free consultation and we will let you know if Arcadia Health and Wellness can help you!
Check out this great infographic with easy-to-do desk stretches from Lifehack.org!