For many students and people in the workplace, our days may require sitting at a desk, often working on a computer for long stretches of time. The negative effects of prolonged sitting have been reported in numerous recent health studies. Researchers theorize that the slow-down of blood flow and decreased metabolism that occurs when we are seated for long periods allows fatty acids to build up. Furthermore, sitting at a desk for 6-8 hours per day can also result in increased instances of back and neck pain due to poor posture. These studies have shown that sedentary behavior has been linked to greater instances of poor health:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High levels of bad cholesterol
So how can we counteract some of these ill effects that sitting too much can cause?
Sit less and exercise more!
Try breaking up those periods of protracted inactivity by following some of these suggestions:
Get up whenever possible!
Even short breaks in the time spent sitting can be beneficial. Make it a habit to stand when you are speaking on the phone. Instead of sending an email, visit your office colleagues in person from time to time. If you are at home watching television, use commercial breaks as a signal to get up and walk around.
Practice good posture!
While at your desk, sit evenly with both feet flat on the floor. Make sure that your chair is the right height in relation to your desk. Raise your computer monitor so that you do not have to tilt your head downward to view the screen.
Incorporate stretching and strengthening exercises into your daily routine!
Focus on hip, shoulder and back stretches that can reduce the strain caused by prolonged sitting. Work on making your core muscles stronger so that they are more capable of supporting your spine.