Sitting at a desk for 8 hours each day is not good for your mind, body or soul. To stay fit and healthy, we need regular exercise, but that may not be easy or possible, especially if your job requires you to be seated and focused on a computer screen for the better part of the day. Especially during this pandemic, now that we are mostly working from home, we are spending even more time locked in. Research has shown that a sedentary lifestyle can have negative effects on bone health and it can also lead to increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
If you are stuck behind your computer all day and have a routine of checking emails, going to meetings and having around 5 cups of coffee within 8 hours, the following tips can help you to stay active and maximize your health potential.
Get A Standing Desk
The popularity of standing desks is increasing each day since they encourage a healthier working environment. Sitting 8 hours a day will strain your body, and that comes with various health problems. This may be challenging for those whose jobs require them to work on computers and have to spend a lot of time sitting down.
If you work such a job, you can get a new standing desk or put an extension to your existing one. The desk might seem odd at first, but you will get used to it over time. If you don’t want to invest in a new desk, you can elevate your computer or move to a spot in the office where there is a taller platform for the computer. You can also purchase an ergonomic workstation or a treadmill desk so that you can work and walk at the same time.
Keep Moving While Working
If having a standing desk isn’t practical, you can replace your work chair with an exercise ball. Using it will stabilize your abs and keep your core active as you work to stay balanced on top of it. Alternatively, you can take a break after a few minutes and walk around the block or engage your kids in a few minutes of play time before starting work again . This will not only keep you active but also help you to re-energize and re-focus.
Stretching can engage your abdominal muscles and open up your spine. The spine and back are the core of your entire body. If there is no mobility or flexion in the spine, your whole body will suffer. Some of the stretches you can do include:
Neck rotations. You can do them by slowly moving your head from side to side
Crossed leg toe reach. This is done by standing up and crossing one foot over the other. Then keeping a flat spine and bending over, driving your back heel to the ground.
Doorway chest stretch. To do this, stand in a doorway and bring your right arm up to shoulder height. Bend your elbow 90 degrees, then place the palm and the inside of your forearm on the doorframe. Lean into the stretch gently, open up your chest and hold it for at least 20 seconds then repeat with your left arm.
Lunch Hour Mini-Workouts
You don’t have to spend the whole lunch hour working out because there are ways you can get an intense cardio in just ten minutes. It could be just a few yoga poses, some jumping jacks, or even jogging. Do anything you can tolerate to satisfy your physical activity recommendation. Studies show that short burst of exercise (i.e. 10 minutes) can be just as beneficial as longer durations if done consistently.
We can't allow this pandemic to cause further struggle in our life by increasing our risk of sedentariness, which will predispose us to health dysfunction. So consider following the tips above to master working from home and maintaining your health.