For most of us, sitting at a desk for eight hours a day is simply a fact of life. While we all know how important correct posture is for our body, very few of us truly put it into practice. Maybe the push we all need to correct our office posture is a reality hit. After all, do you know what sitting at a desk is really doing to your body?
Is Sitting At A Desk Bad For Your Health?
Most people associate injury with active movement, however sitting still at your desk, day after day, can be just as detrimental to your body! Sitting for too long means you’re exerting very little energy, which can lead to obesity and even Type 2 diabetes.
Back and neck pain are also often associated with desk-based office jobs, with a strained neck and shoulders and serious back problems at the top of the list of common risks. The discs in our spine expand and contract as we move about, allowing them to absorb blood and nutrients and keep our bones healthy and strong. By sitting down for extended periods, we actually increase the risk of herniated discs.
How Should We Be Sitting At Our Desks?
There’s a reason your mum told you to “sit up straight!” as a child. According to Ergonomics.com.au, you should start by pushing your hips as far back into your chair as possible and adjust your seat height so that your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are in line with your hips.
Make sure both your upper and lower back are supported and keep your keyboard close and centered to your body. The placement of your computer screen is as important as your chair position. To avoid straining your neck and shoulders and compressing your spine, boost up your computer or laptop screen so that it is directly in front of you, two or three inches above your seated eye line. If your screen and keyboard are separate (ie. not a laptop), push your screen back so that it’s roughly arm’s length away.
Move Your Body!
Regardless of how perfect your posture may be, it’s important to stand up and move around as often as possible to ensure your body is still working the way it should. Sitting at your desk for too long can also have a negative impact on our productivity! Getting up and moving around allows your body to pump blood and oxygen back up to the brain, ensuring everything up there is working as it should. It’s important to get up and move so that you aren’t left with brain fog – and, as a bonus, you’ll also get a nice hit of endorphins too!
You should also aim to get away from your computer during your lunch break. This is imperative for your mental health but will also give you another opportunity to stretch your body, move your spine and get that blood pumping again.
Try setting a timer on your phone to remind you to get up and move around for a few minutes each half hour. Alternatively, see how your workplace feels about implementing some standing desks. If that’s not an option, think about bringing in something wobbly, like an exercise ball, as sitting on this will force you to use your core muscles even while seated.
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