We all know about the dangers of sitting for long hours, yet we can’t fight against modern lifestyle. Many of us are tied to a chair working behind a desk, followed by driving, sitting in public transport or even watching a movie.
Working behind desk
“Holding any position for a long period of time can wear on your body, especially if you’re sitting,” says Alycea Ungaro, a Pilates teacher from NY. “Sitting puts your muscles in a short, contracted position, and your range of motion gets reduced.”
To help you reduce the risks of bad posture and to avoid suffering from pain, I have prepared 5 survival tips for working behind desk.
1: Maintain a good posture
Good posture is essential not only to stay healthy on your desk job, but for your overall health in general. Find an ergonomic chair that will support your back and keep it straight with your feet on the ground. You need to push your hips as far back as you can, so you don’t put any strain on your lower back. Position your mouse, keyboard, phone and notebook closeby, so your shoulders are relaxed and your upper arms stay vertical. Consider a cushioned wrist mouse pad to keep your hand comfortable and an ergonomic keyboard to enable more natural hand placement.
2: Get up and stretch
Make sure you give yourself 5-10 minutes breaks every hour. Your eyes need to relax and look at a distant object, and your body will benefit from a stretch. Take a five minute walk, grab some coffee or some fruit, go to the bathroom, or look through the window.
If you have some space (corridor, bathroom or balcony), do a lunge stretch by kneeling down and stepping one foot forward into a deep hip lunge. Place your hands on your front leg knee to keep upper body upright and shift your weight forward. Hold for a few seconds and repeat 3-5 times, then change legs.
A few minutes spent away from the computer and the desk help you move the muscles and re-orientates your skeletal system. You’ll also be refreshed and able to focus better on your next task.
3: Exercise regularly
Eating well and regular activity of any intensity, from walking the dog to mountain climbing help us keep healthy, balances our metabolism, and according to the Daily Mail prevents lots of diseases. Try to exercise 3-4 times a week and you will feel more energised behind desk and able to endure throughout the day. To avoid joint and muscle bracing, find what’s comfortable to you and stick to a routine – yoga classes, jogging to work, zumba in the park or cardio in the gym.
4: Reward yourself with a massage
After a long week spent behind your desk, treat yourself to something relaxing and calming like a Thai massage. If tension and stresses have built up, they can cause neck and shoulder stiffness or even headaches. A nice head, neck, shoulder and back massage will relax those muscles you’ve strained through maintaining bad posture, and in only 30 minutes you will feel lighter and full of energy again.
5: Spend weekends outdoors
Being in a closed environment with a lack of fresh air can be exhausting, so make sure you spend as much time as possible outdoors on the weekends. The park is a good place to relax and breath deeply. Constant monitor viewing strains the eyes, so use the days off to look further into the distance. If it’s raining, find a cafe or a pub with sheltered outdoor area. Short walks close to nature are also proven to lower the stress levels.
Try to implement these 5 easy tricks to your daily routine in the office and during your time off from work, and you will soon notice an increase of your work productivity and your body will feel better.
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