Most working adults have desk jobs. And when they aren’t sitting at their desks, they’re sitting in the car on the drive home, or at the computer desk at home, or the dinner table, or on the couch watching TV. Americans spend more time sitting than ever before. What they might not know is how sitting can cause workplace injury. Learn proactive tips to avoid pain.
Studies show sitting is increasing the risk of a number of health problems, including bad posture, neck and back pain, poor circulation, obesity, and more.
“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death,” says Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative, as well as the inventor of the treadmill desk. For every hour of sitting, Levine says, we lose two hours of our lives.
This constant sitting is disrupting the natural way we are meant to live. We need to find ways to combat the havoc this workplace injury sitting is wreaking on our bodies. That includes breaking up long stretches of sitting with short bursts of activity.
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- If you drive to work, park farther from the door than usual. You might have a longer walk, but you’ll add activity to your day that you otherwise wouldn’t.
- Stretch every thirty minutes, or at regular hourly intervals. If you have space, stand up and touch your toes or stretch your arms above your head. This will relieve stress on your spine and help reduce back pain and muscle tension.
- Take the stairs when possible, or walk the long way back to your desk during bathroom and lunch breaks. Frequent movement will help circulation and relieve tension from muscles.
- If you have to stay at your desk for long periods of time, try lifting your legs periodically to help circulate the blood. Or walk around your desk a few times to help the blood flow.
Regular exercise, proper sleep, and a healthy diet all contribute to a foundation of wellness in the workplace, but being proactive with the above steps can help keep you stay fit while you sit. If you struggle with getting the right amount of sleep, then the problem might be that you don’t have the right mattress for you. Why not take a look at these mattress sizes to help you find the right one for you. Taking a proactive approach will allow you to avoid workplace injury caused by long periods of remaining sedentary.
Staying fit while you sit doesn’t just incorporate movement. Posture is heavily affected by how long we’re sitting and the way we sit. Many people slouch or slump while they’re sitting. Doing so creates pressure on the vertebrae. And for anyone that already suffers from spinal misalignments, this can further aggravate postural dysfunction, which can lead to worsening spinal conditions.
To be vigilant about your postural health, make sure the placement of your desk, chair, and computer are properly aligned with your body to foster good posture and comfortability.
The ideal sitting position is to have your feet flat on the floor, legs bent slightly upwards. Problems can develop if your feet don’t touch the floor. If this is the case, you can use a stool, box, or phone book to place your feet on. Your chair should have a high back that offers firm support, especially lumbar support. You should be sitting close enough to your desk that you don’t have to reach for your keyboard, mouse, or other office supplies. Computer screens should be eye level to avoid repetitive straining to look upward or looking downward, which can cause neck injuries and headaches. This will help alleviate unnecessary back and neck pain, or stress on the arms and legs.
Following these suggestions, along with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and proper rest will keep “sitting disease” symptoms at bay and help you avoid workplace injury.
Through advanced technology and medical procedures, our practice offers a holistic approach to chiropractic wellness to treat back, neck, and spinal problems that stem from situations such as bad posture habits and long periods of sitting.