The workday can be stressful – not just mentally, but even physically. You might think there is nothing physically strenuous about sitting in an office all day, but it is actually very stressful on your body! The human body is not meant to be still for hours. Sitting for long periods of time can limit circulation and even cause your ankles to swell. Luckily, there are several habits that are sure to protect your health while not taking up any extra time or energy. Next time you’re at work, try these seven ways to protect your health when sedentary.
A little fix in posture can go a long way. Make sure you sit with good posture: shoulders back and tailbone down. We use our back muscles, even when sitting. So, having bad posture for hours on end can lead to a lot of pain later. Be mindful of your posture throughout the day. If you need to, put a pillow under your waist for extra support. Your back will thank you later. This simple practice will protect your short term health by keeping you ready and alert; after all, our posture changes our perspective. It will also help protect against long term problems such as lower back pain.
Sure, it’s fashionable to cross your legs, but you are causing more problems in the long run. Crossing your legs or feet can harm circulation and put extra stress on veins. Always make sure both of your feet are touching the floor. Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle to maximize circulation. This little trick will take a lot of stress off of your body and protect your long-term health by making sure each part of your body receives fresh blood and nutrients each time your heart pumps.
Like your knees, your elbows should bend at a 90-degree angle. When your elbows are at the same level as your keyboard, you will have full mobility in your hands without that numb, tingling feeling. Keeping your wrists straight will also prevent extra strain. Fingers feeling strained from typing? Do a quick hand stretch! Flex your hands by opening your fingers as wide as possible, then fold your fingers together – imagine you’re squeezing a stress ball. This will bring circulation back to your hands quickly, and you’ll feel better in no time. Improved circulation means that if there is ever a problem, you will have plenty of oxygen and blood cells in the area immediately, which means that your body will be able to handle injuries quickly and efficiently.
Holding your neck at an angle for hours can lead to muscle strain and neck pain. Make sure your screen is at the proper level so that you don’t have to strain your neck while you work. Not sure what this level is? Simply close your eyes, and look forward. Hold your head at a comfortable angle. When you open your eyes, keep your head in the same position. Place your screen so that the middle of it is directly in front of your gaze. Voila! Your neck will thank you. Having a healthy neck is extremely important. The neck protects the spinal chord on its transition from your back to your brain stem. Relieving strain on your neck will mean improved protection around your spinal chord, which is good news for the whole body.
Technology can definitely be a strain on the eyes. The bright lights decrease sensitivity, and spending so much time looking at something immediately in front of us has negatively affected our ability to see well at great distances. To lessen these negative effects, there are a few simple steps you can follow. Don’t get too close to the screen – zoom in or out as needed. Turn the backlight down. Default lights are set very high, and your eyes will be much better off if you dim the light just a little. Remove the glare from your screen, closing or covering a window if necessary. These hacks will help you preserve your eyes and may even prevent a few headaches. We depend on our eyes immensely to function in everyday life. While there is no stopping the aging process, wherein our vision naturally fades, removing extra strain from the eyes can prevent long-term damage to your visual health.
Sitting for hours is actually terrible for the human body. When you sit for long periods of time, circulation to your feet is strained. That is why your ankles swell after a long flight. Take time every hour to do a few quick stretches. If that’s too embarrassing, at least take a few minutes every hour to stand while you work. Standing for even a few minutes will increase blood flow, and it might help your metabolism a little, too. Getting your circulation going is essential to your general health, and stretching will improve your short-term health by removing lactic acid from your muscles and preventing them from cramping.
A few healthy snacks throughout the day will keep your mind sharp. When we get too hungry, it is difficult to focus on any given task. Make sure you start your day with a hearty breakfast, so you can start off the day energized and prepared. Eat healthy snacks like fruit throughout the workday to keep your mind fresh and focused. The body works best when continually supplied with small amounts of food, so snacking is much better for your health than waiting for three big meals a day. The workday snack can also be a way to get some nutrients in your body other than what you are used to eating at meals. If you don’t have enough fruit in your meal plan, some berries at work can provide the antioxidants your body thrives on. If you don’t consume enough healthy fats, some nuts on break can really benefit your body while simultaneously giving you a little mental break.
Sitting at work is tough on the body, but it is something that has to be done. These hacks will improve your short term and long term health while allowing you to continue your productivity as usual. Try out a few and see for yourself how much your health improves.