If you’re one of those regular desk jockeys that hangs out in a cubicle 40-50 hours a week (or more), stop and ask yourself how much you’re moving. I’m guessing that it’s not a lot?
Think about it, you get in the car and drive to work, you get to your desk and plug away for hours at a time without a break, you get in your car and drive back home, you arrive home and plop down on the couch for some mindless screen time, then you head to bed. And you wonder why things hurt??
Us humans weren’t designed to sit all day, and it starts so early! Kids are confined to desks at school for hours on end, and a lot of them don’t participate in any activities so they get that sedentary lifestyle ingrained in their head, and again, we wonder why things hurt.
What happens when we sit for 8+ hours on a regular basis?
- Muscle burns less fat and blood flows slower. Prolonged sitting has been linked to high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and a decline in insulin response.
- You aren’t using your muscles properly. Your abdominal muscles aren’t engaging, your hamstrings are shortening and your glutes aren’t being activated.
- Poor circulation can cause problems like swollen ankles and the much more serious DVT (deep vein thrombosis) which are dangerous blood clots.
- Your cervical spine gets compromised, you might struggle with head forward posture, rounded shoulders and an inflexible spine which can in turn cause headaches, neck strain and tight shoulders.
So what can you do to help offset some of the damage that work is causing? While we all can’t just burn our desks and chairs, you can look into a standing work station, or if you work at home some of the time like I do and have a treadmill, grab a piece of plywood and prop it across the bars and set your treadmill at a slow pace (2.0mph is good) and hammer out some work on your laptop while logging some miles. You can also take frequent breaks during the day-set an alarm every hour to get up and walk around for 3-5 minutes. Are you someone who spends a lot of time on conference calls? Switch to a bluetooth device and pace around the office while you’re chatting.
When you get home, don’t just plop down on the couch, plop down on the floor instead and do some mobility work. I recently discovered a great website, Pilates Anytime, that has a ton of mat workouts, some as short as 10 minutes and the only equipment you need is your body. Invest in a pair of Yoga Tune Up balls and do a quick mobility session. Even just some leg circles and leg swings a few times during the day can help to increase blood flow, circulation and keep things moving better.
In good hands,
Rebecca Tamm, LMT