June 21, 2024

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How to Counter the Effects of Sitting All Day

How to counter the deadly effects of sitting down all day | Financial Times

Remote working is the future of labor. As work from home orders for many companies still remains, people will have to become accustomed to this kind of set-up for the foreseeable future. While this arrangement has many benefits, it also comes with its own set of inconveniences. For one thing, it’s much more difficult to keep fit and active when you’re working from the comforts of home. 

This kind of structure encourages the cultivation of a sedentary lifestyle, which is when a person lies down or sits for hours at a time and expends only a minimum amount of energy every day. This kind of lifestyle is incredibly detrimental to an individual’s overall health and well-being and is known to cause a wide range of chronic health issues. 

An increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes are just a few of the many health risks associated with a dormant and lazy lifestyle. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to undo the damage that being constantly desk-bound does to your body. Here are some tips to help counteract the effects of sitting all day for work.

Visit a chiropractor

Having to remain seated all day with your back curved towards your desk can lead to poor posture, which can eventually lead to a herniated or slipped disc, chronic back pain, deterioration of the joints, and poor spinal function. Visiting an experienced chiropractic physician regularly can help maintain your posture and keep your spine properly aligned to prevent any health complications in the future. A massage therapist can also help relieve any existing pain you feel from any tight, knotted muscles. 

Invest in a standing desk

Rather than staying hunched over for hours at a time over your desk and computer, you can spend all that time standing instead by investing in a high-quality standing desk. If the thought of standing all day seems a bit much for you, you can purchase an adjustable one that has the option to revert to a traditional sitting desk. Just a few hours every day will do. Standing for even just two hours a day has been reported to significantly improve circulation, lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, encourage weight loss, and reduce back and shoulder pain.

Take frequent breaks

Avoid getting too absorbed in your work that you forget to take a break every once in a while. If you can’t seem to peel your eyes away from your screen, then set an alarm on your phone or computer to let you know when to step away from your desk and move around, go to the bathroom, drink some water, and rest your eyes. Make sure to use this time productively.

Don’t just switch over from your computer monitor to your phone. Rather, you should stay active and exercise and stretch out your muscles, hydrate yourself, and walk around for a few minutes. Some useful mobility and stretching exercises to do include the downward dog pose, cobra pose, and the figure four stretch. 

Stay active outside of the workweek

You can compensate for all the time you spend sitting on weekdays by staying active on the weekends. You can do anything, as long as it doesn’t involve sitting around all day. A few activities consider include taking a long walk around your neighborhood, doing yoga, cleaning the house, following a Zumba workout, hiking, and going on a bike ride. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity during these days to offset your lazier and less productive workdays.

Eat your meals standing up 

Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet that isn’t too heavy on refined carbohydrates, sugar, and artificial trans fats. Opt for food that’s rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats. While you’re at it, make sure to eat your meals standing up. Opt for easy-to-each lunches like sandwiches and salads so that you can easily consume them without the need for a table.

Use a stability ball

You can still enjoy the comforts of sitting down while engaging the muscles in your lower body and core by sitting on a stability ball throughout the day. Stability balls can significantly improve your balance and boost your stability by challenging your muscles to keep you upright. This ensures that you have a strong lower body and core which reduces the risk of back and spinal injuries, and greatly improves your posture.

Just make sure that you still take frequent breaks even if you’re sitting on a stability ball. Sitting on it for an extended period of more than 2 hours can lead to muscle fatigue. You should also remember to still be mindful of your posture when sitting on it.

These are some things you can implement in your daily work routine to help counterbalance the harmful effects of sitting all day. These aren’t just for work from home set-ups, as you can also keep them in mind for when you return to work in a traditional setting.