Office workers: improve your health. Sit back, take breaks, move more.
Most us are aware that spending all day sitting at the desk increases the risk of back and neck pain and is not good for us. Several recent studies have linked the increase in sitting at work to a much wider range of health issues. These include increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancers; it may even reduce our life span.
The good news is that we can help ourselves by moving more. A study in Australia, published last week in the European Heart Journal, found that office workers, who spent more time standing, had lower levels of cholesterol and blood sugar. Those that took more steps also found that their waistlines shrank and their BMI improved.
As an experienced Chiropractor and Ergonomic Advisor, Grant has seen the effects on backs and necks of prolonged sitting. In Scandinavian countries employers found that investing in stand-sit workstations paid significant dividends, leading to improved health, productivity and wellbeing and noticeably reduced absenteeism and its related costs. Some enlightened employers in Jersey are beginning to introduce stand-sit desk options and are seeing the benefits.
Grant's top tips
- Sit back. Bring your keyboard and mouse closer to you and sit back in your chair, with your shoulders against the backrest of the chair. This will reduce strain on your lower back and take some of the pain out of your aching shoulders!
- Take breaks. A short ‘micro break’ every 30 minutes, stand up walk round your chair and have a quick stretch. Every hour take 5 minutes to walk a little further, ideally take the stairs.
- Move more. Always leave the desk at lunchtime and have a 20-30 minute walk. If possible spend up to two hours a day standing at your workstation. It’s worth the effort!