• Dr. Susan Knight-Nanni

How to Stay Healthy While Sitting at a Desk All Day

Studies show that a healthy lifestyle is a balance of food choices, exercise, and mental health. This balance should also be included in your work life, especially since you spend forty plus hours a week there. If your job requires you to be seated at a desk all day, there are some habits you can incorporate into your daily routine to maximize your health.

Schedule Breaks into Your Day

Working long hours at a desk can take a toll on your body both mentally and physically. It has been proven that taking breaks throughout your work day can help you improve focus which in turn, improves performance.

To ensure you maintain focus, and to prevent mental and physical exhaustion throughout your work day, make it a goal to schedule regular breaks. Breaks will help boost your energy and productivity levels to stay active behind or away from the desk.

Stretch or Move in Place

Research has shown that sitting for long periods is not good for you. The American Medical Association even asks employers to encourage their employees to stand up during working hours. However, unless you have a standing desk, moving around the office can be difficult.

That’s why it is so important to take the opportunity when it presents itself! Try to pace or walk when you are on a call. Take time to stretch in between tasks while at your desk. By taking these small opportunities, you can work in 20-30 minutes of movement each day.

Schedule Exercise on Your To Do List

Work schedules are often hectic and calendars can fill up quickly. Make it a point to put your workout time on the calendar and block it off. Treat it like it is part of a weekly task at your job and check it off your list!

If you feel like you can’t schedule a significant amount of time, commit to at least 30 minutes and build from there. The benefits go well beyond weight loss, including a reduced risk of heart disease, better cholesterol and improved heart functions.

Pay Attention to Good Posture

Poor posture is more detrimental to our health than many of us realize. Bad posture for 8+ hours a day on a weekly basis can lead to sore muscles, spinal curvature, blood vessel and nerve constriction. Poor posture can also lead to feelings of depression and decreased levels of energy.

When at your desk in a sitting position, your feet should be flat on the floor and your thighs parallel to the ground. Don't cross your legs, and keep your ankles in front of your knees. In addition to this, avoid slouching or over-arching your back or neck.

Find the Right Kind of Chair

Your chair at your desk could make all the difference! Big, comfy chairs might feel great to sit in, however, they might also be placing you in an unhealthy posture where you're no longer required to engage the muscles. Sitting already kills your metabolism, decreasing muscle engagement only makes it worse!

Consider purchasing a yoga chair or a chair that is firm and encourages good posture. This can help stimulate your abs and back muscles, improve balance, and will force you to sit in the right position.

Adjust Your Monitor

Improper monitor positioning can cause a number of problems leading to eye exhaustion, burning, dryness, and muscle aches. Likewise, setting your computer monitor at the wrong height can lead to headaches, double vision, difficulty focusing your vision, nausea, and dizziness.

Make sure your computer and monitor is positioned straight in front of you and about an arm's length away. You should align the top of the screen with your eyes so that you're slightly looking down at your monitor. This also encourages good posture and improved levels of overall energy into your daily work flow.

Sometimes the smallest habits can make a large impact for your overall health! For more advice on how to improve your spinal health, not only in your work environment but daily life, visit one of our convenient locations to schedule a consultation.

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