We all know how hard it is to stay fit while you’re working at a desk for 8+ hours. Most of the day is spent sitting at the computer, sitting in meetings, sitting in the car or public transit during your commute. With all the time spent sitting, how are we supposed to find the time and space to exercise? How do I even keep good posture while at work?
Good news! We have a 6-part strategy to help you find ways to work out while you work. The best part is, you can lower your stress levels and exercise without any gym equipment. Read our blog post here to learn more or go directly to our ergonomics and desk worker information page! We also have our awesome free ergonomic self-assessment to help you find out some of the easy fixes for your desk set up!
In this 6-part strategy, we will help you understand and give you the choices towards healthy work practices and work practices that may be harmful to you and how to improve them:
1. Education and Understanding the effects of sitting
2. Proper Ergonomics
3. Body Positioning
4. Proper Desk Posture
5. Micro-Breaks and the benefits
6. Corrective Exercises
A simple description is designing a workplace for the worker. Ergonomics may include using chairs for maintaining proper postures, placing water machines or printers across the room to increase step counts or simply placement of frequently used desk items like a calculator or a stapler. The challenge with ergonomics is that every worker and work environment is different and so a one size fits all model does not necessarily work. This is why it is important to have the ergonomic environment assessed if possible or at least be able to alter it in a way that fits you and your work habits. Here’s where our tips can come in!
If you are working from home and don’t have proper work place equipment for example a desk, a proper chair, a monitor, keyboard, mouse then some of these may not be applicable for you. However check out this blog that was created about adapting your home office for more information on how to improve that environment during times that you are working from home!
So we hear we should stand more… but how bad is it? According to a study from the American Journal of Public Health (2018), when comparing those who sit more than eight hours a day compared to those that sit less than four hours a day, risk factors increase for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, depression and physical pain conditions. Let’s break some of these numbers down. There is nearly a 2X higher chance of type 2 diabetes, a 10-20% increase in cardiovascular disease conditions (strokes, heart attacks, etc.), there is between a 13-20% higher chance of dying from cancers, and up to a 20% increased risk of depression for those that sit more than eight hours a day compared to those sitting less than four hours a day.
In terms of physical conditions there a definite increased risk in neck pain, tension headaches, shoulder pain, upper and mid back pain, lower back pain and the list goes on. But follow some of the tips in this article and let’s take down those risk factors for all of those conditions!
Let’s combine this section and instead treat it per area of the body!
Neck pain and Tension Headaches:
Improper monitor height
Spending too long in front of the screen
Improper keyboard height
Long term working on a laptop
Upper Back and Mid Back Pain
Desk is too high
Keyboard and mouse are too far away
Screen is too far away
Screen is too low
Seat has inadequate support
Working from a laptop
Lower back pain
Chair is too high
Feet do not touch the floor
Chair does not support the low back
Chair seat is too long and not adjustable
Sitting up too straight
A micro-break is an activity that makes you change your current positions for a short amount of time. Micro-breaks are extremely helpful for desk workers because it breaks of a natural process in our body called hysteresis. Hysteresis is a term that describes our muscles’ ability to adapt to stress in a physical environment. Our bodies adapt each day to what we are doing and it gets used to the stresses we put on them. So sitting without moving for 8 hours means there is a build up of scar tissue designed to keep you in that position because our body has adapted. This cycle occurs every 30-40 minutes and if we can confused the body during that cycle it won’t be able to build up the scar tissue. Additionally, you can use that time to grab some water to hydrate, do some simple desk exercises or just simply get blood flowing through your body.
Here’s a video that details a movement that can improve the health outcomes for many in the future:
Here’s some other alarming statistics of our lives now that are recapped from the video!
Upper Trap Stretching
Levator Scap Stretching
Chin Tuck Exercise
Pec Lacrosse Ball
Seated Cat Cow
Seated Thoracic Rotations
Piriformis lacrosse ball
Banded Box Squat
Hip Flexor Stretch
As always, if you have any questions about your conditions and would like to schedule an appointment with us at Baseline Health and Wellness you can give us a call at 6046744027 or schedule online at www.baselinewellness.ca
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