Sitting down for long periods of time is a relatively new phenomenon that we as humans have to deal with. Evolving so that our bodies are used to sitting at a desk all day or staring at a computer screen is a long way off. Claims that ‘sitting down is killing us’ is hard to believe as a simple statement, but research has shown that sitting for long periods increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and death even if you exercise. In a nutshell, these claims are stating that when you sit, your calorie-burning potential drops to the bare minimum and if you sit for long periods of time this can seriously harm your health even if you do 30 minutes of exercise every day. The facts and links between these diseases and sitting is not fully known but links between them and sitting are strong. I know for sure that I’m going to start wiggling my feet, doing a few stretches and walking in my lunch break from now on, but remember that other factors such as your diet, alcohol intake and smoking can affect your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
As long as you move your body whenever you can, your health will improve undoubtedly. The main problem that all office workers face is back pain and the NHS claims that it affects most people at some point in their life. The NHS also backs up the claim that activity of any sort can reduce back pain, so get off the sofa, leave the car on the driveway and do as much activity as you can: it all adds up.
But if you are stuck in the office all day and you want to avoid back pain and laying claim to a hunchback of your own there are a few easy things you can do. We give some tips to help bust the doom-mongers who made this infographic (below)!
Support your back
It has been suggested that the best angle to sit at is 135 degrees, rather than the 90 degree upright position that most office dwellers believe to be the best for posture. Arguments include that this laid-back position reduces pressure on spinal discs which is one of the main reasons for back pain. The main problem with this is that it makes it incredibly easy to slide even further down in your seat as well as the mild risk that you might doze off. There are also issues such as how far you need to stretch your arms in order to reach your keyboard and mouse. The benefits that it could have on your spine may be contradicted by the fact that you’re raising your head further and lifting your arms – rather than hanging them at a right angle could also cause more problems with shoulder tension. Somewhere between 90 and 135 degrees would probably be more suitable.
Keep your feet flat on the floor
This helps you to support your legs and lower back as well as preventing you from sliding down in your seat to a slouching position.
Relax your arms into a comfortable position
Upper arms should hand down by your sides, with your lower arms at a 90 degree angle, resting your wrists on your desk.
Make sure that your monitor screen is at eye level
This ensures that you aren’t slouching and arching your neck to see the screen.
Use a hands free-headset
Tilting your head to one side to keep the hand set between your ear and shoulder won’t do you any favours in the long run.