Signs You Could Be Sitting Too Long at Work
Join the standing desk revolution.
For most of us, the conveniences of life have made sitting a major part of our day.
From driving to and from work or sitting on the bus, to sitting in an office chair at our 9-5 and then again on the couch in the evening, it seems that much of our day to day activities revolve around sitting down.
But sitting too much is incredibly damaging to our health and can lead to a number of mental and physical concerns, from depression and muscle injuries to diabetes and even certain cancers.
Some studies have even suggested that sitting is so bad for our health that it’s akin to smoking.
But just moving around more each day, as well as standing more, can help to reverse some of these issues. Movement and activity can have positive effects on the body and mind, from increasing productivity to helping to reduce the risk of health problems. There are numerous signs to watch out for that could indicate you’re sitting too much at work – these are some of the most common and the ways you can combat them.
Sitting slumped in front of a computer all day or working by yourself at your desk can lead to feelings of depression. And the more negativity you feel, the more likely it is that you’ll be slouching without giving your posture the attention it deserves.
If you’re noticing your mood slipping or you’re going hours without seeing anyone, take the opportunity to go for a walk around the office, get your body moving and talk to your colleagues.
Sitting down all day, particularly if you’re working in an office-based job, often means that we wind up eating at our desks and hunching over for hours at a time.
If you find that you’re struggling with digestive issues a lot, it could be a sign that you’re sitting down too much and not moving enough during the day. If you can’t avoid eating at your desk, you can help your digestion by stretching or going for a walk afterwards, even if it’s just for a few minutes, so your stomach can digest more easily.
Tiredness and Fatigue
You may have noticed that when you’ve been sitting in the same position for hours, whether at work or in the evenings in front of the TV, you feel tired and like you have no energy.
This is because your body isn’t moving which can slow your circulation down and leave you feeling sluggish. Inactivity also causes blood sugar levels to increase which can lead to chronic fatigue, particularly in people who suffer with diabetes.
One easy way to combat this problem is to make sure you’re getting up regularly throughout the day which will give you more energy or you may prefer to work standing up by switching to a sit-stand desk which will keep your body active throughout the day.
Extended periods of sitting can lead to headaches, so if you’ve been suffering with headaches and migraines lately, it could be a sign that you need to be getting moving more often.
Try going for a long walk on your lunchbreak, setting a reminder on your phone each hour to get up and do some stretches or alternate between sitting and standing while you work.
Not only will this help you avoid sitting down for too long but it will also give your eyes a rest from staring at your computer screen, which can also contribute to headaches and eye strain.
Neck and Shoulder Injuries
A common side effect of sitting for prolonged periods is that your shoulders and neck can begin to ache. This is a result of poor posture and hunching the spine, which causes the muscles to become tight and painful.
The term ‘use it or lose it’ doesn’t just apply to muscular strength but also to the spine. If you’re sedentary for too long, the spine can become weak which also increases the risk for herniated discs. In order to keep the spine healthy, it’s important to move it so that the soft discs between the vertebrae can expand and contract, allowing for blood and nutrients to flow – if we’re inactive for too long, the discs can become brittle and inflexible, which hardens the tendons and ligaments.
Changing up your work position between sitting and standing, as well as stretching regularly, will loosen up the muscles and prevent neck and shoulder pain from developing.
When we’re sedentary for too long over a long period of time, it can start to wreak havoc on our health, particularly in terms of our weight.
If you are now sitting down more than you may have been previously, you might have noticed that you’ve gained excess weight that wasn’t there before.
Sitting down can certainly play a part in weight gain, so find ways to move more throughout the day such as going for a run on your lunch break, walking to and from work instead of driving or getting the bus, or finding opportunities to stand more such as for conference calls or meetings.
Repetitive Use Injuries
These problems begin as a mild ache but can develop into being incredibly painful. In fact, these problems can even be a sign of the start of rheumatoid arthritis. An easy way to avoid these problems from developing is to ensure that your workstation is set up correctly to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your neck and joints.
This means making sure your computer screen is raised to the appropriate level and resting your wrist on an ergonomic support.
A height adjustable desk is also a great option to avoid repetitive strain injuries, as you can adjust your workstation intermittently to keep your body moving and your joints rested at the right level.