Posted on 03/03/2016 at 11:00 AM by YMCA of Greater Des Moines
Whether you're a traditional office employee, college student or smartphone user, chances are you’re spending hours a day in a chair, at a desk or otherwise hunched over staring into a screen. There are the obvious consequences like a sore back and neck, but sitting too much can also lead to muscle degeneration, organ damage, leg disorders and impaired brain function.
If you’re a regular exerciser, you’re not immune either. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine reports that even if you work out, heavy sitting may put you at greater risk of developing diabetes or dying of cancer or heart disease.
Even if you do a good job of moving around throughout the day, you’re bound to run into other health barriers while you’re on the clock, like frosted cookies in the breakroom and an overflowing inbox and stress-o-meter. Okay, enough with the doom and gloom — here are a few things you can do today to enhance your workplace wellness.
If sitting for hours a day is unavoidable, try to sit in the healthiest way possible:
Dig even deeper into ergonomics here for detailed tips to optimize your chair, keyboard and other workspace components. Though not an option for all of us, many people find using standing desks to be beneficial, at least for part of the day; a counter top or high table could be an occasional substitute as well, keeping in mind that posture matters while you’re standing, too.
So, you’ve got your work station set up now, but you’ve still got dozens of unread emails and deadlines to juggle. Try calming your mind and body, if only for a few minutes, with these breathing techniques:
You’ve got proper posture and you’re breathing deeply, but if you stay at your desk all day, you’re still setting yourself up for physical and mental fatigue. Here’s how you can take breaks from your chair, even if you don’t have time to stop working altogether:
You knew we were going to bring food into this, didn’t you? You can follow all the steps above but quickly undo many of the benefits by scarfing down a drive-thru value meal at 2 p.m. as you rush to the next meeting. Often easier said than done, here are a few better options:
Can you try just one of these tactics today? See how you feel and build from there. Have your own tips for boosting wellness in the work place? Share them with us in the comments!