Desk work is a matter of fact in school, work and life. Is it bad for you? Can you do anything to prevent injury from prolonged sitting? Will a forty five minute to an hour workout be enough to counter the effects from sitting the rest of your day?
It’s the cumulative effect that will get to you.
Sitting and desk work are not inherently bad for you. Slouched posture is not inherently bad for you. It’s the cumulative effect that will get to you. Think of the straw that broke the camel’s back, it wasn’t the first straw, or the second, it wasn’t even the thousandth; each piece of straw adds to the total until that total overcomes the camel’s musculoskeletal system and there is failure at the weakest link. It is the hour after hour, day after day, year after year that is bad for you. Moral of the story, take time to move throughout your day. Here are some tips to remind you to get up and move:
- Set a timer for every hour, get up for five minutes, stretch, do some burpees (HA!), do air squats, some push ups, take a small lap around the office.
- Drink plenty of water, that way you are forced to get up and use the restroom regularly.
- Walk to Jim’s from logistics office rather than emailing.
- Play a game of office Ping Pong, get corporate to buy one!
What can you do to prevent injury from prolonged sitting? Moving regularly is number one. Making sure your station is set up ergonomically correct is number two. Your office or company may have an ergonomic consult that can help you set this up, if not, here are our tips for setting up your station more ergonomically correct.
- Seat height so that your feet are flat on the floor or platform underneath your knees
- Hips and knees are bent at ninety degrees.
- Arm rests set to a height where your elbows can rest slightly in front of your trunk and are supported slightly so your shoulders aren’t in your ears or working to hold your arms up.
- Elbows bent to ninety degrees, wrists set in neutral
- Middle of screen set at eye height
Moving regularly is number one.
At least, thirty minutes of moderately vigorous exercise is recommended for general health.
Is a forty five minute to hour long workout enough to counter the effects of prolonged sitting every day? Yes and no, prolonged sitting is not the devil; but a more sedentary lifestyle can lead to a multitude of ill health effects. Working out, getting your heart rate up, and strength training are great modalities for general health, that work to help stave off systemic disease, and improve muscle and joint health. At least, thirty minutes of moderately vigorous exercise is recommended for general health. Of course, if you have specific goals, i.e. increasing lean body mass, improving aerobic fitness, increasing cardiovascular health, or losing weight; you may have to spend more time working out to reach those goals.
-Dr. Nick Schroeder, PT, DPT
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