FOR MANY OF US, SITTING DOWN FOR THE MAJORITY OF OUR DAY IS INEVITABLE AND UNAVOIDABLE. BUT THIS TIME SPENT SITTING ALONG WITH THE TIME WE SIT ON THE WAY TO AND FROM WORK, WHILST HAVING DINNER, AND WHILST WINDING DOWN WATCHING TV AFTER WORK, IS SERIOUSLY DETRIMENTAL TO OUR HEALTH.
FOR EXAMPLE, THOSE WHO’S JOBS REQUIRE THEM TO SIT DOWN ALL DAY, ARE TWICE AS LIKELY TO DEVELOP CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE THAN SOMEONE WHO’S JOB REQUIRES THEM TO BE MOVING AROUND ALL DAY.
It’s unavoidable for many of us; we spend a lot of time staring at screens and sitting down, in our work and home life. Fortunately there are several things we can change to minimise the long term effects of sitting, no matter what work we do. It’s important to interrupt sitting wherever we can, and there are a few simple ways we can move more in our workday, without it taking up much more time or effort than sitting down all day does:
TAKE THE STAIRS
If you work in an office which has more than a couple of floors, the chances are there will be an elevator. Think about taking the stairs instead, the chances are you’ll probably be at your desk at the same time as if you had waited for the elevator.
WALK ON YOUR BREAKS OR FOR MEETINGS
It’s all too easy to stand up from your desk, walk to the lunch room, and sit down again to eat your lunch. Why not dedicate 10 minutes of your lunch to going for a walk, the fresh air and natural light will also do wonders for your mood and motivation. If you’re having a one-on-one meeting or brainstorming session, consider going for a walk instead of sitting around a desk, it might even boost your brainpower!
Who says you can’t exercise whilst at your desk? Similarly to exercises you’re instructed to do on long-haul flights; you can stretch and roll your ankles, shoulders, neck and back whilst sitting at your desk. You can also mix it up, and stand sometimes, or sit on a medicine ball occasionally instead of your chair to activate different muscles. The important thing is to interrupt sitting in the same position for too long.
SET YOUR WORKPLACE UP
- Have your chair height so that your elbows are at desktop level
- Sit fully back into your chair so that your lower back is supported
- If your chair seat is able to be tilted, set it so that you are comfortable and supported
- Use a footrest if your feet don’t comfortably reach the floor
- Locate your monitor so the top third of the viewing area is at or below eye level
PARK FURTHER AWAY
If you drive to work, whether you have to park in a car park or on the street – don’t try to find the spot that requires the least amount of walking (as tempting this can be first thing in the morning) – purposely park further away so you have to get some steps in and can stretch before you sit down for the day.
MOVE AROUND THE OFFICE
It can be all to tempting to call or email the person sat at the other side of the office, but not every conversation or question needs a paper trail, so instead of picking up the phone, wander over to them instead and stretch your legs!