Stay Fit and Healthy at Work
The human body is designed to move in order to stay fit. It is found out that people spent most of life sitting. You may question as to how is it possible? Here are a few questioners for you to get an answer.
- How many hours of sitting for a lecture in school/college days?
- How many hours of watching a movie at the theatre?
- How many hours of sitting at desk/meeting, in case of desk job?
- How many hours of sitting while traveling (by car, bike or public transport)?
- How many hours of sitting for meals, snacks etc?
You may wonder by calculating a number of hours sitting based on the above questioners. It is changeling for people who have hardcore desk-bound jobs. Not everyone has the time or ability to leave everything for two hours and go for a casual stroll or a brisk walk. But this doesn’t mean you have to give up with health!
Staying Fit with your Desk-Bound Jobs
Staying fit with your desk-bound job is actually possible. Let’s first check with a list of health issues that arise in the case of a desk-bound job.
1. Poor body Posture
People who have desk-bound job often fall-victim to slouch position due to longer hours of sitting. This can lead to forward head posture due to continuously peeking into computer/laptop or files. This can even lead to chronic neck pain.
2. Lower back Pain
Lower back pain is the most commonly faced problem with the desk-bound jobs. The lower back, which starts right below the ribcage, is called the lumbar region. This pain can be intense and can land you in the bed-ridden state. In most of cases low, back pain often gets better on its own, or in some cases, a mild massage with ointment subsides the pain. However, in rare cases, there arises need to take-up surgery. You can even experience anterior pelvic tilt where the lower back muscles tighten up.
3. Flat Butt
Butt is either of the two-round fleshy parts of the human body that form the bottom. The muscles that exist in butts are inactive while you are in a seated position. If this sitting posture is for the prolonged duration then it can weaken over a period of time. This means movements that require the butt muscle to work become more difficult such as climbing stair-case or rising from a seated position. If this posture is continuous for the prolonged duration then this can even lead to extra stress on the lower back and hamstrings (a round fleshy muscle that is present in the butt) to do the work of the weak butt, which can lead to injury and pain.
4. Diabetes Risk
According to researchers at the University of Leicester Departments of Health Sciences and Cardiovascular Sciences people who have desk-bound job and spend most of time sitting have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a life-long disease that affects the way your body handles glucose, a kind of sugar, in your blood.
5. Rounded Shoulders
It has been found that lots of people from this generation who are young have rounded shoulders (also referred to as hunched) which makes body posture very poor. It is often a habit for desk-bound people that your arms will be in front of you relaxing on the desk. Once this becomes a habit for a long time it creates a rounded shoulder and thereby leading to poor body posture.
Due to this sitting posture, the muscles that are present of the upper back and the neck get strains and stretch over it. The muscles present in chest shorten as well as the small muscles present between the shoulder blades become weak. This also affects back muscles by stretching it. This ultimately has a tremendous impact on your health. If this rounded shoulder becomes chronic then you can develop a hump in your back. This can also lead to shallow breathing since the diaphragm (an organ in the human body which plays a vital role in breathing) is compressed.
6. Protruding Gut
Gut is a tube through which food is transferred to the digestive organs. It is also known as the gastrointestinal tract or alimentary canal. People who have a desk-bound job are more prone to have protruding (i.e. projecting out) gut due to weak lower tummy muscles. It is common for these muscles to be weak due to tight hip flexors and sometimes tight lower back muscles as with anterior pelvic tilt.
7. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (which is abbreviated as CTS) is a medical condition in which the median nerve (nerves that run from biceps to wrist) of the wrist and which travels from the carpal tunnel causes severe pain or numbness or stinging sensation. This causes pain in the parts of the hand that receives sensation pulse from the median nerve. This pain in the wrist sometimes extends up to your arm and thus causing discomfort to your shoulder as well as forearm parts of the body.
Desk-bound people who spend most of the time on laptops or computers are more prone to this syndrome since the wrist is continuously under pressure.
8. Tight Hamstrings
Hamstrings are round fleshy muscles present on the upper back of your legs and for an important part of your butt. When you spend most of the time seating these muscles are tightened. Tight hamstrings can lead to muscle strains and pulls (also known as knee pain).
9. Knee Pain
Tight hamstring and the calf muscles (i.e. muscles present on the back of the lower leg) puts pressure on the knee and this can weaken quadricep muscles (muscles present on the front of the thigh). This can cause the knee to track out of alignment and thus causing knee injury and instability.
Now you may be cautious about your health. Below you will find a collection of exercises that anyone can do to stay fit at work. Some of them don’t even require getting up whereas others take not more than 10 minutes out of your daily routine.
10. Take the Stairs
Stair climbing is a unique form of exercise that can have a powerful and positive impact on your health over a period of time. The daily activities such as walking, stair-case climbing, running to catch the bus, etc are more closely associated with improved health. According to researchers climbing just eight flights of stairs a day lowers average early mortality risk by 33%. It has also been found that seven minutes stair climbing a day can halve the risk of heart attack over the next 10 years. Along with these benefits stair-case climbing can improve your cardiovascular fitness as well. It can be considered as a ‘vigorous’ form of exercise and burns more calories as compared to jogging.
11. Take a Walk during Break
You have often heard this advice before from seniors or colleagues but have ignored most of the time. There are innumerable number of benefits of walking such as reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke, reduces risk of type 2 diabetes by around 60 percent, helps in losing weight, prevents dementia, tones up legs, bums, and tums, boosts up your vitamin D, gives you energy and even it makes you happy by releasing feel-good endorphins to boost your mood. Now you may be wondering where is the time to walk when at job? The answer is to take a wall during your lunch break, coffee break or gossip break.
12. Stretch your Hips While you Type
When you sit at the desk, in cars or in theatre, you fold legs at the hip and thus shorten hip flexors. This can lead to stiffness in the lower part of the body and can cause pain in the lower back. Instead, you should try numerical 4 style approach which involves placing one ankle on the opposite thigh so that your lower body forms numeral 4. While being at this posture exhale as you lean forward over the legs, keeping your back straight. Do this until you perform three deep breaths and then switch the legs. To stay fir at work you can switch leg three times or as many times as you feel until you get stress free.
13. Reach for the Ceiling
When you get neck pain right between the shoulder blades while working with your laptop or desktop it is an indication that the position is bad for you. In this case, you should reach both arms up to the ceiling and try arching your back. Now bring the arms down and stretch forward which forms C-posture of your body. It is recommended to do this every 30 minutes while you are at the desk.
14. Don’t Snack
It has been found that almost 40 percent of office workers gain weight just from snacking at work. This includes chips, aerated drinks at the vending machine, a wide range of tea from tea dispensers, etc. Instead, opt for something healthy like an apple or fruit juice from a local vendor.
15. Move Around the Office
It is very important to break the habit of a sedentary (i.e. tending to spend much of time seated) lifestyle every hour or two hours. You can use simple tips such as instead of phoning colleagues in the office walk to his/her desk in person, walk to the pantry to fetch water instead of asking office boy to do so.
16. Squat before you Sit
Squat refers to posture in which you sit with one’s knees bent and one’s heels close to buttocks. You can do squat before you sit on the chair at your cubicle. Stand with a distance of one inch from your chair in a position that you can sit on the chair. Now you squat on the chair as if you are going to sit on the chair. During this process when your backside is about to touch the chair then stand back up and then squeeze the glutes (skeletal muscles that form buttock). According to researchers if you do this just for one minute every day at your desk it can burn up to 50 calories in just one week of time.
17. Use your Sit Muscles other than Sitting
Sitting in a desk chair puts you in an ideal position to practice Kegels. Kegels exercise (also known as Pelvic floor exercise) consists of repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor. The benefits of this exercise are to reduce urinary incontinence, reduce premature ejaculatory occurrences in men as well as to increase the size and intensity of erections. It can also improve your ability to reach orgasm, help you master control of your bladder, forestall incontinence and also support your pelvic organs. Most of the physical therapists, gynecologists, and fitness pros recommend doing this at least three sets of 10 every day.
18. Cardio at Cubicle
The desk treadmill or portable pedal bike can come to your rescue if you have a sedentary lifestyle at the office. You can do a workout while staying at a desk using a desk treadmill or portable pedal bike. This is the most efficient way to burn lots of calories while you remain at the desk. If you are restricted to a small cubicle at the office then thanks to a portable pedal bike.
19. Drink lots of Water
Research has shown that drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of water throughout the day can promote weight loss tremendously. Hence, drink plenty of water throughout the day and refill your bottle or glass by walking to the pantry. This keeps you alert as well as hydrated throughout the day. Water is also responsible for making you feel full and prevents premature hunger as well as cravings.
20. Ditch the Car/Bike
Whenever possible avoid using car or bike and go to work by walk or run. In case you stay far away from your office then try parking far away from destination and walk the rest part of way.
21. Walk when you Talk
It is observed that most people talk on their mobile phones by sitting at their desk. Now, make it a practice to get up from your seat and go for a walk when you’re on the phone.
This is a guide to Fit at Work. Here we discuss an Introduction and tips for staying fit at desk-bound jobs. You can also refer to our other related articles to learn more –