Did you know the average adult sits for 10 hours a day? Between driving, working, binge watching online TV and even eating, it can be terrible for your health. Numerous studies show prolonged sitting leads to a long list of health problems,including heart disease, high blood sugar, depression and muscle and joint pain.
Unfortunately, even hitting the gym regularly isn’t enough to make up for the damage sedentary lifestyles are doing to our bodies. The solution? Move more, and move often.
This may seem simplistic, but think of sitting as putting your computer in sleep mode. Sitting can stall important processes in your body that break down fat and sugar.
According to Mayo Clinic, simply getting up and moving spurs your body’s systems back into action. Take the stairs, stand up during phone calls or even try a walking desk to wake up your body and move throughout the day.
Another way to move more during the workday is using a timer or app to get you out of your chair every hour. When you’re up, fill those short breaks with activities like squats, climbing stairs and rolling your neck and shoulders. And don’t forget your lunch break. Use that time to get away from your desk and take a walk or go to the gym.
However you move during the day, you should burn more calories, kick your body’s functions into gear and ward off the negative effects of too much sitting. Now what can you do to protect your health while seated?
For all the time that you do have to sit at a desk, set up your work station correctly. Just as movement has a profound impact on your body, so does good posture. To help you stay comfortable all day, Mayo Clinic provides a guide to workplace ergonomics.
- Sitting with your monitor at arm’s length, with the top of the screen at eye level
- Keeping your wrists straight, with your elbows at your sides and arms at 90-degree angles
- Sitting with your feet on the floor (or on a footrest) and your knees at hip level
- Using a headset if you’re frequently on the phone
Some larger companies have ergonomics experts to address sedentary jobs and health. They can customize your work space for your individual needs, since chairs and desks aren’t one-size-fits-all.
If you’re lucky enough to work in one of those offices, take advantage of the benefit! Even slight adjustments to your monitor height, armrests or mouse placement can reduce eye strain and muscle and joint pain.
Having a sedentary job doesn’t mean you’re doomed to poor health. Adding movement into your day and keeping your desk set up for good posture can prevent some perils of sitting too much. Your mind and body will thank you!
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also use tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the in the Member Wellness Center under the Managing Your Health tab.