The typical working environment for most people revolves around spending long hours seated at a desk while gazing at their computers. As much as your job is important, your health is more important. The chances are that you might be doing extremely well in your work, but what about your health? Have you thought about your posture? Those long hours that you spend slouching at your desk could be enormously detrimental to your health.
There is a myriad of reasons why sitting for long hours is actually bad for you. It may not have been given much thought in the past, but unlike the past, the modern world is encouraging people to sit more As a lot of people continue to be oblivious of how harmful this habit is, medical research has uncovered numerous health conditions that emanate from long hours of bad posture and inactivity.
If you are getting at least 30 minutes of exercises a day, and then you end up sitting still for the most part of the day, you are definitely counteracting the good effects of your exercise sessions.
The Risks Associated With Prolonged Sitting
In a report released by the World Health Organization, sitting was listed as one of the top risk factors associated with death. In fact, one study that was published by the Archive of Internal Studies linked sitting for too long with early death from any cause. This study, which involved taking the samples of over 200,000 people, concluded that sitting for over 10 hours a day catapults the chances of dying from any other cause by 40%.
Cancer is one of the most notorious diseases in the world, and sitting for long hours isn’t protecting you from this nightmare at all. Physical inactivity has been said to be responsible for 21-25 cases of colon cancer and breast cancer.
In Australia, physical inactivity ranks second after Tobacco as the leading cause of cancer.
Diabetes and Heart Diseases
A report by the World Health Association further shows that inactivity also contributes to over a quarter of diabetes and a staggering 30% of heart diseases. A study conducted during the 1950s in the UK by the transport industry revealed the negative effects of sitting for long hours. The study showed that drivers, who typically spent most of their time sitting, were more likely to develop heart conditions, unlike their conductors who spent more time standing.
If you sit in front of a computer all day, you might easily develop back problems. More so, people hardly pay attention to their sitting posture. Therefore, it is easy to form the habit of assuming the wrong sitting posture without noticing.
Poor posture does not only put unnecessary pressure on your spine but can also strain your neck, depending on how your computer is positioned. Even though you may not realize that a few hours of bad posture are affecting your spine, it can gradually lead to anatomical changes of your delicate spin. Consequently, this can cause constriction of your nerves and blood vessels, resulting in frequent back pains.
So, how do you stay healthy if you sit at the computer all day? If you haven’t been mindful of the problems that you may be creating for your health by sitting for too long, you can do something about it and lead a healthy life. However, you will have to adopt better and healthy habits in your workplace. Here are some of the changes you can make;
Maintain a Good Sitting Posture
One of the most effective ways of maintaining a good sitting posture is to avoid hunching. This means that you shouldn’t sit on your office chair while it’s bent forward as you work on your computer. For you to assume a proper posture while sitting, ensure that your back is leaning flat on the support of the chair. Your shoulders should be upright and your head level match with that of your spine. Your knees should be either level or slightly above your hips.
You should always make sure that your feet are on the floor. If you can’t comfortably keep them on the floor, use a footrest. This posture can help you avoid a host of back pains and muscle fatigue.
Participate in positive activities on your way to or from work
The chances are that you have to sit for a few hours every day to get your job done. The good news is that if you engage in more physical activities, you can dodge the bullet of ill health. Some of the changes that you can make is leaving your car at home and cycling to work. Whenever you have an option to ignore the elevator and take the stairs, you should do so. If you use the bus, get off one stop away from your home and walk the remaining part.
Maintain activity at work
This does not mean that you keep yourself busy at your desk all day. Walk to your colleague’s desk and have a chat in between work. Get creative and organize some walking meetings. Set your rubbish bin away from your desk so that you have to stand whenever you need to discard something. Also, when receiving phone calls, stand up and walk around the room.
Sitting all day long is becoming as hazardous as the habit of smoking. Nevertheless, you don’t have to be a victim of the sedentary lifestyle and risk your health. What you need to do is create awareness of your working environment.
If you notice any bad habits that you might have acquired over time, begin to replace them with the tips listed above. At first, it may seem like a lot of work. However, if you keep at it, it will gradually be incorporated into your daily work life.
Remember that staying healthy as you sit on your computer all day will make you more productive. On the other hand, ill health is likely to ruin your productivity over a considerable period of time
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