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Sitting for long periods of time can have an adverse effect on your health, and most of us these days spend extended amounts of time sitting, especially in offices.
Not only does sitting for long periods lower your body’s metabolism, it also makes your muscles stiff and causes harm to your posture. Some studies have also shown that sitting for too long increases your chances of developing obesity, diabetes, and heart health problems.
Prolonged sitting can also cause sitting fatigue and have a negative effect on your ability to concentrate. If you work in an environment that involves a lot of sitting, you may find your focus wandering during the afternoon. This can cause a drop in productivity, headaches, and a general feeling of crankiness.
It is not necessary to run out of the office and find yourself a new vocation to avoid harmful effects on your body. Simple movements and exercise can help to improve your posture, loosen your tight muscles, and avoid the sitting fatigue.
Fatigued staff don’t perform well, are less productive and are more likely to cause accidents and injuries. The fatigue suffered from extended sitting periods can have a negative impact on the quality of your work. It affects your ability to think clearly and causes you to be less alert.
Following these suggested tips can help prevent additional strain on the muscles on your body, thus leaving you with more energy to finish the day, and avoiding unnecessary back pain from bad posture:
- Make sure the weight of your arms is supported. Otherwise, the muscles in your neck and shoulders may begin to ache.
- Try to keep the weight of your head above your neck. This means not allowing your head to “crane” forward or letting your chin rest toward your chest.
- Avoid slouching. Move your chair close to your workstation to prevent your body from leaning and reaching.
- Place your monitor directly in front of you with the top of the screen no higher than eye level. Position the keyboard directly in front of the monitor so you don’t have to repeatedly turn your head and neck.
- Try not to jam the phone between your neck and your ear as you speak. Instead rather request a hands-free set.
- Move your keyboard and mouse close enough so you don’t have to reach for them. Extra reaching can strain the shoulders and arms.
- Keep the monitor far enough away, at least an arm’s length, to prevent eye strain.
- Make sure your feet comfortably reach the floor; they should not dangle as you sit. If this proves difficult, use a footrest or lower your chair.
Stretch It Out
There are many simple exercises that, if performed frequently, will help you to avoid strain on your body. Even if you don’t have time to exercise and strengthen your body, you can always make time for these easy movements:
Shoulders Shrugs: Take a deep breath. Lift up your shoulders as high as possible. Hold for at least 30 seconds. Release.
Torso Twist: Take a deep breath. As you exhale, turn to the right and grab the back of the chair. Twist your torso as far back as possible. Twist back to face the front. Repeat on the other side.
Arm Stretches: Raise your arms in the air. Interlock your fingers. Bring your arms down.
Leg Stretches: Ensure you are sitting firmly on the seat of your chair (you may want to grab the chair arms for support). Stretch out your legs so that they are parallel to the ground. Wiggle your toes. Hold for one minute.
Walk: Find excuses to get up and walk around such as going to a colleague’s cubicle instead of emailing them or walking the few feet to get an item instead of rolling your chair over.
Set Up Your Workplace for Good Posture
Sometimes the best strategy is one of prevention. If you want to ensure your body does not suffer the consequences of a sitting job, set up your workplace to support a healthy body and good posture.
What about a standing desk?
Switching to a standing desk enable you to work on a computer while maintaining a good standing posture. Ergonomic workstations allow you to convert your workstation from a sitting desk to a standing desk. Switching to a standing posture once every hour will do wonders for your body.
Sit on a gym ball
Switching your regular chair for a gym ball prevents slouching and can help to straighten your spine and ensure proper posture. A gym ball also works out your gluteal muscles and helps to keep your lower body in shape.
Choose the right chair
Pick a chair that is the right size in terms of your height. Your chair should be at the right height to enable you to reach your keyboard with relative ease. Overall, it should allow you to work without needing to stretch for anything.
Physiotherapy and workplace posture
You can receive the best physiotherapy in the world when you need physical rehab from the effects of bad posture, but you may not see any lasting benefits because of the nature of your workplace. Your work is where you spend several hours of your day and this has a huge impact on your physical wellbeing, so pay attention to your posture and the corrective measures you can take.
Through our related service, Physiotherapy at Work, we are able to come to your workplace for ergonomic assessments, physiotherapy treatments, and health education.