We now know sitting all day can shave years off your life and raise your risk of health problems like back pain, weight gain, and even depression. Your routine 30-minute workout each day may not be enough.
Our friends at OnlineCollegeCourses are back with more tips on healthy office ergonomics, which we’ll look at in a 2-part series. Here are some ideas to help you ward off the ill effects of too much sitting at your desk.
1. Fidget. A study from a Mayo Clinic doctor on NEAT, or non-exercise activity thermogenesis, found that simple things like fidgeting and tapping your toes can ward off harmful side effects of sitting like proclivity to obesity and heart disease. Avoid letting your body go completely idle.
2. Seated Back Stretch. (See image right) It is possible to stretch without leaving your chair. While exhaling and keeping your shoulders relaxed, fold your torso over your legs from the pelvis until your hands reach the floor and hold there for 30 seconds. Come back up on an exhale, again making the pelvis the focal point.
3. Perfect the Art of Breathing. Sitting in front of computers makes us lazy, even when it comes to breathing. We take incomplete breaths without using the diaphragm. If you take five minutes to consciously inhale slowly and deeply, then exhale rapidly and fully to expel all the CO2, you will have more energy and increase cognition.
4. Shrug it Off. Shrugging your shoulders helps break up tension caused by sitting slumped forward all day. It’s also more of that minor but important movement you need. Keeping your muscles relaxed, slowly lift one shoulder to your ear, slowly lower it, followed by the other side, then both sides together.
5. Back Extension. This simple exercise can be done on a break to reverse all that hunching over. Raise your arms over your head and touch your palms together, and tilt your head back slightly. Hold for up to 30 seconds.
6. Get a Good Chair. One of the most crucial elements of ergonomics is having a chair that gives you adequate lumbar support and maintains your spine’s natural S-curve. Make sure it allows you to adjust back height and depth. Believe it or not, good quality chairs can be had for under $100.
7. Use a Footrest. To increase blood circulation while sitting, take advantage of a footrest. This also takes some pressure off your lower back, reduces fatigue, and heightens awareness. You can even get one that rocks, allowing you to get a little more movement and burn a few more calories.
8. Knee Raise Crunch. Another move you can do while sitting is called the knee raise crunch. Sitting up straight with both feet on the floor, slowly raise one foot while curling the shoulders forward. Hold there for one second before releasing and doing the other foot. Repeat up to 20 times.
9. Rub Your Temples. Sitting all day makes you fatigued and stresses your body. You can undo those effects by rubbing your temples, something you probably do instinctively when you’re stressed. It can help relieve headaches and relax you. Keep your elbows on your desk and rub in slow circles.
And always remember one of the best office ergonomic tips: use the best ergonomic pen whenever you write. The UGLee Pen is designed to keep your hand and fingers relaxed when you are writing. You don’t have to grip this pen, a situation that often causes cramping and sore fingers. Instead, it grips you. Now that’s great ergonomic office support.
Image Credit: riversidehealthcare.com