5 tips to keeping a healthy back in a desk job
Our bodies weren’t meant to be in chairs at desks all day, but unfortunately for most of us, our jobs require it. Sitting at a desk for extensive periods of time can lead to poor posture and core strength; injuries of the neck, shoulders or back; shortening of the hip flexors and hamstrings; and also diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease to name a few.
And to think, for a lot of us, not only do we sit for 8 or more hours a day at work, but also to and from work, and when we get home we further compound this by sitting on the couch in front of the TV, playing computer games or on the net. Now, I won’t go in to what else we could be doing with our leisure time in this blog, but perhaps this isn’t the greatest way to spend our free time…
We also underestimate the importance of being ergonomically set up at the desk, which can further compound poor posture or predispose us to injuries. It may be worth investigating with your work place if it is possible for you to have an ergonomic assessment.
So 5 tips to help you keep a healthy back while at work:
1. Stretch and move every hour
Put a reminder in your calendar so every hour, you are reminded to stretch. All it takes is 1 minute of your time. Throughout the day, it is good to combine stretches of the neck, chest, shoulders, upper back and lower back.
2. Stand at your desk while talking on the phone
You don’t have to do this every time you answer the phone, but if you don’t require the computer, then stand up and talk. Stretch the legs out. And while your standing, you could do some gentle movements to release the muscles from their stagnant sitting position.
3. Use bathroom breaks to stretch
Another great opportunity to stretch. You don’t have to spend long, even if it is just one stretch you do.
4. Take the stairs instead of the lift – engage your core
I witness people taking the lift instead of the stairs for 1 or 2 levels all the time. Ofcourse if you have an injury then by all means use the lift, but a lot of them are just being lazy. So use this as an opportunity for extra exercise in your day. And when you’re going up the stairs, don’t use the rails to pull yourself up. Use the strength of your legs and engage your core (pelvic floor and lower abdominals) while you’re at it.
5. Take your lunch break
I am a big advocate for taking a break during your work day. Ask anyone I have worked with, I will generally make sure I always get out of the office, even if it only ends up being 10 minutes! Not only does your body need the break, but your mind too! If you can manage a break for 30 minutes, super! You can go for a walk, sit in the park and listen to music, read a book, or even meditate. DO yourself a favour and take the break. Your body and your mind will love you for it.