For many of us sitting takes up a large part of our day. We know it’s not the healthiest practice, but it’s how we get work done. Today we’re talking with a local expert about the right exercise and habits to offset the dangers of desk dwelling.
In this Episode
- CJ Anderson
- Anne Murray, PT
What’s the big deal with sitting all day?
Some experts are saying, “Sitting is the new smoking” in terms of negative health impacts. Depending on your fitness, posture and health even a half-hour of sitting can put you at risk.
We’re naturally designed to use our muscles to hold ourselves in good posture while sitting, with an “S” shape to our spine, but for most of us the tendency is to relax into a “C” shaped spine where we are most slouched. This can lead to stress fatigue and discomfort in the back, neck and shoulders.
Other risks from prolonged sitting:
- Decreased circulation
- Altered blood sugar levels (craving sugary snacks)
- Lowered brain function
If you’re sitting for 30 minutes, spend at least 30 seconds moving around and stretching your body (particularly back, neck and shoulders) in the opposite direction from where they are when you’re sitting.
“Motion is Lotion”
The good news is most of these risks can be reduced with a little bit of physical activity. Taking short walks during break times, or even moving in place every half-hour keeps your circulation up, helps regulate blood sugar to fight off those cravings and keeps your brain clipping at the highest level.
As an added bonus, this regular activity throughout the day (even in small, regular doses) helps keep your joints and muscles in optimum condition. We’re made to be in lotion
30:30 – Take short breaks to stretch your back, neck and shoulders in the opposite direction from their position when you’re sitting (think up and back).
Engage those big muscle groups. Walk around the office (inside or out). Even just marching in place helps boost your circulation and keep your legs in shape. Doing windmills with your arms (while standing still and hopefully not near your unsuspecting coworkers) can help round out this kind of routine.
Tuck your chin back and tilt your head back to stretch your neck away from the “leaning into the computer” position.
Don’t forget your eyes
It’s not just your back and legs that get tired form sitting. Working on the computer also takes a toll on your eyes and regular breaks are important to help them rest and recover.
Does a standing desk fix it all?
Varying sitting and standing while you work is a helpful with your circulation, but you aren’t increasing your motion by a lot and you can still use bad posture. While mixing sitting and standing throughout the day is good, it’s still important to take time to stretch and move around to keep your circulation rolling.
Author: LivingWell PDX Blog
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