Did you know that the average person spends more than 6.5 hours sitting every day? This has led to some experts referring to sitting as the “new smoking” thanks to all the health risks that can come along with it.
Sitting at work all day long can cause everything from high blood pressure to high cholesterol. It can also lead to a person becoming overweight and even obese in some instances. And of course, it can result in a wide range of neck and back problems.
If you want to try and avoid the negative effects of sitting too long at work, there are steps you can take to counteract them. You won’t have to worry about dealing with things like back pain while sitting at work when you make every effort to take better care of yourself.
Here are some useful tips that will help you counteract the health effects of sitting at work all day.
Pick Out the Right Chair for Your Desk
You’re going to be spending a lot of time sitting in the chair that you use for work. So shouldn’t you make sure that it’s a chair that’s going to keep you comfortable day in and day out?
Far too often, people take whichever office chair their employer gives them and use it at their desk. They don’t even think to ask for a better chair or to bring in a chair of their own.
The office chair that you use every day should be specifically designed for those who spend over 6 hours sitting at work. It should also have more than enough padding to provide you with the comfort you’ll need.
Additionally, you may want to think about adding a seat cushion to it to take it to the next level. This reference page breaks down one of the best seat cushions in the business for those who spend long hours sitting down at work.
Practice Good Posture When You’re Sitting at Work
No matter how comfortable your office chair might be, it’s not going to be comfortable for 6 hours (or more!) if you don’t practice good sitting posture at work. Bad posture is going to take a huge toll on your neck and back and leave you in pain at the end of the workday.
Here are some ways to improve your posture while sitting at work:
- Start by making sure your eyes are on the same level as the very top of your computer monitor
- Relax your shoulders and keep them on the lower side as opposed to hunching them up high
- Keep your back straight against the back of your office chair (don’t ever slouch!)
- Put your feet flat against the floor, shoulder-width apart
- Place both your keyboard and mouse within arm’s reach
By practicing good posture, you can stay comfortable and prevent neck and back pain from setting in.
Set Alarms to Remind Yourself to Get Up and Stand
Regardless of how comfy your chair is and how great your posture is, you shouldn’t ever sit at work for hours and hours on end. You might have to sit down for 6 hours or so total, but that doesn’t mean you have to do 6 hours straight.
In fact, experts will tell you that you should get up and stand at least once every 30 minutes or so. This will help to get the blood flowing through your body and prevent your muscles and joints from tightening up on you.
To ensure you remember to get up and stand every half hour, you should set an alarm on your smartphone or on your computer. It’ll give you an opportunity to stretch yourself out before sitting down and getting back to business.
Consider Investing in a Standing Desk
In recent years, many people have started to make a more concerted effort to get up and stand periodically throughout the course of the day. Some have also begun standing for long stretches of time by investing in standing desks for their offices.
Standing desks give you an opportunity to stand and work just like you would do if you were sitting down. They’re excellent tools for those people who want to stand as often as possible while at work.
Your employer might not love the idea of you welcoming a standing desk into your workspace, even if you cover the cost of it. But it wouldn’t hurt to ask them if they would be OK with it.
Just make sure you don’t go too far overboard and stand all the time with a standing desk. It’s best to maintain a healthy balance between sitting and standing.
Give Yourself Every Excuse to Walk Around at Work
A big part of the reason why people stay seated for so many hours at work these days is because technology has made it easy for them to do it. They don’t have to worry about getting up and walking to a coworker’s desk when they can shoot them a quick email.
It’s simple to get caught up in doing these kinds of things. But you should try not to rely on tech all the time when you’re in the office. You’ll be better off getting up every so often and walking around to connect with your coworkers.
Even if you’re just walking around to say hello to your coworkers, it’ll get you moving for a few minutes and counteract all the sitting at work that you’re doing. It’ll help bring a better balance to standing vs sitting at work.
Get Into the Habit of Leaving the Office for Lunch
Do you eat lunch at your desk on most days? This isn’t the best idea since it’s adding to the amount of time that you’re spending sitting at work.
Rather than chowing down on your lunch at your desk, get into the habit of leaving the office for lunch as often as you can. Even if you bring your lunch every day, go outside and find somewhere else to eat.
The simple act of stepping outside will work wonders for your health. It’ll allow you to stretch out and give you immediate access to fresh air in the process.
Take the Stairs Instead of the Elevator
If your office is located on the ground level, you won’t have to worry about taking the stairs or the elevator when you walk into work every morning and leave work every night. But if you have the option of either taking the stairs or riding the elevator at work, choose the stairs every time.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you might even want to get mini-workouts in when you’re walking up and down the steps at work. There are all kinds of fun exercises that you can do on a set of stairs to improve your health.
But even if the only thing that you do is walk up and down the stairs at work every day, it’ll be way better for you than riding the elevator. It’ll be one more thing that will help to counteract the sitting that you do at your desk.
Steer Clear of Sitting at Home at the End of a Long Day
When you get home at the end of a long day, you’re probably very tired. It might result in you plopping down on the couch and spending another few hours sitting down.
If you can avoid it, don’t do this! There is nothing wrong with lounging around for an hour or two at night, but you shouldn’t spend all your time sitting down.
Go out and take your dog for a walk around the neighborhood. Play with your kids out in your backyard. Or slide on a pair of running shoes and go for a jog. All of these things will go a long way when it comes to giving your body the activity that it needs.
You’ll also set a great example for everyone else in your house when you make it a point to move around and stay active. They’ll be less likely to veg out in the front of the TV when they see you making a stronger effort to get exercise.
It’ll encourage everyone around you to steer clear of the many health hazards of spending all day sitting at work and at home.
Sitting at Work Can Be Hazardous for Your Health If You’re Not Careful
There is no way to get around doing at least a little bit of sitting at work. Unless you work a manual labor day that calls for you to be on your feet all day, you’re going to get to know your office chair really well.
But that doesn’t you have to spend hours and hours and hours sitting at work. You can achieve a good balance of standing vs sitting at work if you put your mind to it. Your body will thank you for it later on when you’re not always in pain.
Read the articles on our blog for more tips that will help you in the workplace.