One of the challenges of working a desk job is that it is very easy to spend hours on end not moving from your chair because of a high workload or the pressure of a never ending to-do list or maybe just an inability to move away from your laptop/computer screen.
However, did you know that regularly sitting for more than four hours a day can increase your risk of developing dozens of medical conditions and shorten your life expectancy?Scary right?
According to Harvard Health Publications, too much sitting has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and premature death.
Over the course of these studies, people who sat for prolonged periods of time had a higher risk of dying from all causes — even those who exercised regularly. The negative effects were even more pronounced in people who did little or no exercise. Harvard Health Publications
Let’s do a check in, do you have any of the following physical symptoms: stiff neck and/or shoulders, headaches, a slow digestive system, tight hip muscles, a foggy brain, and fatigue? What about these mental symptoms: foggy brain, shorter reaction time, lowered exposure to social interactions, depression, decreased cognition and cognitive awareness, social separation, and overall psychological distress and anxiety? Whereas having these symptoms may not be solely linked to sitting at your desk all day, growing research indicates that these are warning signs not to be ignored.
With all this doom and gloom, it’s time to consider solutions. According to the Northwestern University’s ,self care solutions, these are some of the habits we could get into that could potentially improve our health and lengthen our life spans:
- Sit healthier-this is as simple as grounding your feet and making sure your feet are underneath your knees and not under your rear end or out in front of you. There are a lot more techniques towards sitting healthier here.
- Schedule exercise-make this part of your regular to-do list and set realistic goals to start with so you don’t end up quitting half way! There are loads of work out videos on you tube and lots of Pinterest work out plans that can be good guidelines.
- Set a stretch alarm-set an alarm for every 30/60 minutes and take a few minutes to streeeeetch. It can be as simple as a hands-to-your-feet stretch or a shoulder shrug.
- Stand up– this will allow for increased blood circulation and lubrication of your joints. It also happens to burn 30% more calories than sitting. There are also options of adjustable laptop stands and standing desks that will allow you to work while on your feet.(Read on benefits of a standing desk here.)
- Take the long way-this will help you get in an extra dose of movement and allow you to practice the art of slowing down.
- Stay hydrated-tie this in with the stretch alarm so you can grab a glass of water as often as possible. PS:the recommended amount of water is 8 glasses of water which can be ideal for an 8 hour job if you set hourly alarms to stretch and hydrate.
- Chair yoga-this is a great way to stretch without having to move from your chair. Pinterest has lots of ideas that you can borrow but this one stood out for me.
“How you sit and how long you sit can affect how balanced a life you lead, and as a result, how long of a life you live.” Northwestern University: Self Care Solutions