If you’re anything like me, then you’re probably sitting at a desk for hours every day. This desk-sitting habit can take a toll on our bodies. Over time, continuous inactivity can lead to an overactive nervous system and a downward spiral of negative consequences known as electronic stress response (ESS). It doesn’t make sense that something as simple as changing the way we sit at work could have such a major impact on our health and well-being, but it is what it is. When we spend extended periods of time sitting, our bodies respond with increasing muscle tension and fatigue, which negatively affects our productivity levels and overall sense of wellbeing. In addition to this, recent studies have shown that prolonged sedentary behavior is also linked with serious health risks including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression and low cognitive function in older age.
Take a break from your desk every 30 minutes
It’s no secret that sitting down all day can have a seriously negative impact on your health and productivity, but what’s the best way to combat this? To combat the negative effects of excessive sitting, be sure to take regular breaks from your desk and stand up every 30 minutes to create a brief period of standing and walking. Studies have shown that standing up for a few minutes every hour can significantly improve brain function and decrease muscle fatigue, which increases productivity levels. Try setting a timer on your phone or alarm clock and make sure you take a break from sitting every 30 minutes. Alternatively, you could get yourself a standing desk if you work in an environment where they’re available. Standing desks are a great option if you work in an office where there are no nearby trees or at least a few nearby that can provide some breeze. A standing desk can help you fight off the effects of excessive sitting and become more productive.
Stand up and move around every hour
Unfortunately, the positive effects of standing are negated if you don’t take the time to move your entire body and stretch. Stretching your muscles between standing intervals can substantially increase their length, which improves your posture and reduces the risk of muscle tension and injury. Additionally, stretching also helps to decrease your blood pressure and improve your cardiovascular health. Stretching can be done in different ways depending on your fitness level and the type of work you do. For example, if you have a desk job, you might want to try some yoga poses that require you to be on your feet. If you have more flexibility, try stretching on a mat or exercise ball. Stretching is not only important for your health, but it can also significantly boost your energy levels.
Find ways to be more active outside of work
Encourage your colleagues to get up and move around while you’re at work. If you have a desk-bound position, find ways to engage in physical activity outside of work. This could be as simple as taking the stairs at work, taking a walk around the block or climbing a few flights of stairs at your local gym. Meanwhile, if you work with colleagues who are willing to get together and play sports or do yoga with you, then you could set up a weekly team activity. This could be as simple as scheduling a team meeting in the middle of the week where you’re all encouraged to get up and move around for 5 minutes.
Be mindful while you’re working
When you’re working on a desk, try to take a step back and think about what you’re doing. There’s a really good chance that you’re spending more time focusing on work than you need to. If you have the chance, try to step away from your computer and do something else for 10 minutes or so. This can be as simple as closing your laptop, walking around your desk and taking a deep breath. This can help you to be more mindful while you’re working so that you don’t get so caught up in the stress of work that you forget to enjoy your life and spend less time being stressed out.
Although it might seem like sitting all day is a great thing, in reality, it can lead to a host of negative consequences. Plus, sitting all day has been shown to affect your productivity and cause issues with your health. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to combat this and improve your work/life balance. When you take regular breaks from your desk and stand up every 30 minutes to stretch your muscles, you can fight off the effects of excessive sitting. Additionally, you can also try to find ways to be more active outside of work and be mindful while you’re working. These things can help you to combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting and significantly boost your work/life balance.