Knee Osteoarthritis and Chiropractic
A growing body of research on the effects of Sitting Disease has linked excessive sitting to a number of diseases, including colon cancer, breast cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, as well as greater rates of disability later in life and even premature death
Sitting can also have negative effects on the structures of your body, including the upper and lower back, neck, and hip muscles and joints, as well as spinal discs. Even regular exercise doesn’t reduce the danger caused by hours of sitting every day, according to a study conducted by the University of Queensland in 2009. Daily hours spent sleeping, watching TV, using a computer at home and eating, compounded by hours spent sitting at work, could cause major health problems.
Sitting at a desk for hours on end is a common plight: 86 percent of Americans sit all day at work, according to a survey conducted by Research Now and Ergotron. Since regular exercise outside of work is not enough to counteract the negative effects of sitting, desk workers face an increased risk of health problems, but there are ways to maintain productivity and break up the amount of time spent sitting.
1) Get Moving on the Clock
With so much of our lives spent working, the challenge is figuring out how to avoid sitting so much while still getting work done. Here are six ways to get out of that desk chair and get moving on the clock.
2) Use a Standing Workstation. The American Medical Association now recommends that employers provide alternatives to sitting desks. A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that standing workstations reduced time spent sitting, upper back and neck pain, and improved mood state of employees.
Adjustable standing desks can cost upwards of $300, so if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, try building your own DIY standing desk like this one made out of Ikea furniture. Just be sure to build your workstation at the proper height. This diagram is a helpful guide to determining how tall your standing desk should be.
3) Take Frequent Microbreaks. Sitting can cause muscle stiffness, so if you can’t use a standing desk, try taking microbreaks. A study published in the journal Applied Ergonomics found that workers who took microbreaks (averaging around 30 seconds every 20-40 minutes) experienced less muscle pain and discomfort with no negative impact on productivity. Professor of Health Services Toni Yancey of the University of California recommends using these breaks to stand up and march in place, dance, or walk a quick lap around your office.
4) Hold Walking Meetings. Research suggests managers spend as much as 25-80 percent of their time in meetings. While it may not always be possible to leave the office, holding walking meetings is a great way to get moving at work. Fresh air and a change of scenery can make your meetings more productive. Most importantly, regular walks can contribute to a healthier lifestyle, lowering your risk for cancer and type 2 diabetes.
5) Walk During Your Lunch Break. Taking a brisk walk or even a casual stroll during lunch is a quick and easy way to get out of your chair. A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports tracked 56 office workers who took 30-minute walks during their lunch breaks. Not only did the participants improve physical fitness, but walks during the lunch hour also improved mood, increased relaxation, and decreased tension, regardless of how fast participants walked. For people who struggle to find time to exercise regularly, lunchtime exercise is a great way to increase physical fitness and counteract hours in a desk chair. If possible, take your walk outside, since experiencing natural environments can increase the benefits of your exercise, according to studies.
6) Stand While Making Calls. Standing up while making phone calls is an easy way to get out of your chair and break up your time spent sitting.
7) Technology Can Help. While technology often is the cause of even more time spent sitting, there are several devices on the market than can help you track fitness and decrease sitting, including the FitBit, Jawbone, and Apple Watch, among others. These devices can help you set fitness goals, remind you to get up and move during desired periods of time, measure your daily activity and calories burned, track sleeping patterns and diet, and much more.
Moving at Work May Increase Productivity, Too
Reducing the amount of time you spend sitting is good for your long-term health, but it could also increase your work ethic and job performance. A study conducted by professor Avner Ben-Ner of the University of Minnesota found that, over a yearlong period, employees of a company who used treadmill desks increased productivity at work.
The employees walking on treadmills experienced an increase in quality of work and quality of exchanges with colleagues. The study also found that the 40 out of 400 employees at the company who used treadmill desks increased overall physical fitness, exercising more outside of work as well as at their desks. While treadmill desks are not a realistic option for every workplace, this study demonstrates that movement throughout the day can be extremely beneficial to overall health and productivity.
Lowering your risk for Sitting Disease can have a big impact on your health. Use these tips to get moving at work and share them with your coworkers to create a more productive, healthy workplace.
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