Our lifestyles have drastically changed over the years. Today’s jobs are less physically demanding than they were 50 years ago since many workplaces now use technology to increase efficiency and accuracy. Even the activities we do after work often involve less physical activity and more sitting, such as watching tv and playing video games. Unfortunately, these long, seated hours are bad for our health. Most people sit for eight or more hours a day, and the effects of sitting for so long are disastrous to our health. Prolonged sitting causes an increased risk of back pain and cardiovascular disease, among other conditions.
Just because you work at a desk doesn’t mean you have to succumb to these health problems. Try to stay active throughout the day and give yourself a break from sitting.
Below are four activities you can do to reduce sedentary behavior and increase physical activity.
Build Active Habits and Avoid Sitting
1. Use a Standing Desk
The standing desk is a fairly new work trend that’s rapidly gaining momentum in the workplace as an alternative to sitting. Many studies show that by standing at work, you can avoid some of the risks associated with sitting. Some of the benefits include blood circulation improvement, released muscle tension, and improved focus at work. If you’re willing to try standing desks at work, here’s an easy way to make your own standing desk.
2. Focus on Your Posture
Maintaining proper posture throughout the day can also make a huge difference in how you feel while sitting throughout the day. Slouching can put tremendous strain on your spine, which can cause back pain, neck pain, and muscle tension. Check out the video below for more information on how to maintain proper posture at work.
3. Walk When You Can
There are plenty of opportunities to walk around during the day. You could take the stairs instead of the elevator, or take a walk during your lunch break. You can easily keep track of the steps you’re taking using a step-tracking app or watch. Technology may contribute to our lack of physical activity, but it can also assist us by keeping track of how much activity we’re doing throughout the day. Making these minor adjustments to your daily routine will add up, and your body will feel healthier for it.
4. Get Up and Stretch!
Stretching daily is important, but most people think of stretching as a warm-up or post-workout routine. Instead, create a habit to stretch more often than once or twice a day. Taking breaks to stretch can provide back pain relief, improve posture, and combat fatigue. You can learn more about the benefits of stretching here. It’s recommended that we take a short break for every hour spent sitting, but sometimes hourly breaks are impossible to manage when faced with a busy work day. As an alternative, try taking three stretch breaks during the day: one in the morning, one at lunch, and one in the evening. Set a timer to remind yourself it’s time to get up and stretch. Below are three stretches you can do to help eliminate some of the aches and pains of excessive sitting.
Hip Flexor Stretch
- Begin in a lunge position with the knee of the side to be stretched on the ground.
- Actively engage your core & glute on the side being stretched to prevent your pelvis from tipping forward.
- Throughout this stretch, apply downward pressure into the knee that is on the floor as if driving the knee backwards.
- Allow the same side hip to lower deeper into the stretch by sinking downward & forward.
- Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
Seated Neck Stretch
- Start seated in a neutral position with the shoulders relaxed.
- Place the left palm on the left thigh while tilting your head to the right.
- While tilting your head, allow the right ear to move to the right shoulder.
- Place your right hand over your head, holding it in place.
- Hold this position for 15 seconds.
- Release and repeat on the other side.
Seated Press Up with Glute Squeeze
- Sit at the edge of a chair with feet flat on the floor.
- Flex the glutes as hard as possible to raise yourself up in the chair, as though doing a push-up with glutes.
- Repeat the contraction 10 – 15 times.
Sit Less, Move More, Relieve Back Pain
Our bodies are made to be active and mobile. Try the above tips, and if you’re still feeling restricted by pain, schedule an appointment with Airrosti. Our team of experienced providers can quickly find and treat the root cause of your pain, so you can go back to living your best life pain free.
View our medical disclaimer here.