If you haven’t yet heard, many professionals now believe that sitting is the new smoking, and while those who work on their feet all day every day may disagree, prolonged time spent sitting can cause fatigue, heart disease and injury.
The average person spends three to eight hours sitting down every day (and this is just at work), and experts recommend at least 5 to 20 minutes of standing each hour.
The human body was designed for moving, and for our first six million years alive, humans either moved often or simply didn’t survive. Today, though, most of our value as humans is derived from our creativity, and office workers find themselves drowsy, prone to injury and easily fatigued. The answer is to find natural ways to increase movement throughout the day, to reverse these effects and improve our health.
One of the buzz phrases recently thrown around recently includes “intermittent movement.” Often people who spend the majority of their time sitting down each day will try to make up for it with a brutal workout regime, however, studies have shown that even vigorously exercising can’t completely compensate for the damage that occurs from sitting all day.
Researchers have found that staying active as much as you can throughout the day is actually even more important than having a fitness routine. Intermittent movement is about ensuring that you frequently move your body throughout the day, and continually stand up from your seated position- something that was found to be effective at counteracting some of the problems faced by those who spend too much time sitting.
For many people who find themselves getting caught up in their work and failing to move as much as they should, a schedule can work wonders. It may seem strange, but setting an alarm to go off at intervals throughout the day will remind you to walk the long way to the bathroom, go and find a drink of water, or even engage in some stretches.
When we’re sitting down, the larger muscles in our lower bodies are doing nothing. And this means that our metabolisms often change, and will produce biological signals called biomarkers which have been linked to cancer.
One of the best things you can do to keep yourself healthy is to invest (or convince your boss to invest) in good-quality, ergonomic office furniture. There are a number of work desks that can actually be used as both sitting and standing desks- meaning you’ll be able to get enough time on your feet.
The chair you’re using can also make a huge difference to both your comfort and your posture. Some people may find it more comfortable to use a footstool, and you should try to have your computer screen at your eye height to prevent yourself from continually looking down and straining your neck. Ergonomic furniture can help with all of these things and ensure that when you are sitting, you’re sitting in the best possible position to reduce the impact on your body.