Healthy Tips On Office Slump | Recommendations and Solution
Healthy Tips On Office Slump | Recommendations and Solution. 5 Health Tips for Computer Workers Sitting All Day, 21 Ways To Stay Healthy When You Sit At A Desk All Day and
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- There are at least 24 different chronic diseases and conditions associated with excessive sitting
- A natural healthy amount of sitting is about three hours a day; the average American office worker sits for up to 15 hours daily
- Prop your computer up on a stack of books, or use an adjustable height desk or treadmill desk, so you can stand instead of sit while working
In recent centuries, advances in industry and technology have fundamentally changed the way many humans spend their waking hours. Where it was once commonplace to spend virtually all of those hours on your feet – walking, twisting, bending, and moving — it is now the norm to spend those hours sitting.
The modern-day office is built around sitting, such that you can conduct business — make phone calls, send e-mails and faxes, and even participate in video conferences — without ever leaving your chair.
But there’s an inherent problem with this lifestyle. Your body was designed for near perpetual movement. It thrives when given opportunity to move in its fully intended range of motion and, as we’re now increasingly seeing, struggles when forced to stay in one place for long periods.
Studies looking at life in natural agriculture environments show that people in agrarian villages sit for about three hours a day. The average American office worker can sit for 13 to 15 hours a day.
The difference between a “natural” amount of sitting and modern, inappropriate amounts of sitting is huge, and accounts for negative changes at the molecular level.
According to Dr. James Levine, co-director of the Mayo Clinic and the Arizona State University Obesity Initiative, there are at least 24 different chronic diseases and conditions associated with excessive sitting.
“Sitting for long periods is bad because the human body was not designed to be idle. I have worked in obesity research for several decades, and my laboratory has studied the effect of sedentary lifestyles at the molecular level all the way up to office design.
Lack of movement slows metabolism, reducing the amount of food that is converted to energy and thus promoting fat accumulation, obesity, and the litany of ills—heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and more—that come with being overweight. Sitting is bad for lean people, too.
For instance, sitting in your chair after a meal leads to high blood sugar spikes, whereas getting up after you eat can cut those spikes in half.”
Not surprisingly, sitting for extended periods of time increases your risk for premature death. This is especially concerning given the fact that you may be vulnerable to these risks even if you are a fit athlete who exercises regularly.
It takes a toll on your mental health, too. Women who sit more than seven hours per day were found to have a 47 percent higher risk of depression than women who sit four hours or less.2
There’s really no question anymore that if you want to lower your risk of chronic disease, you’ve got to get up out of your chair. This is at least as important as regular exercise… and quite possibly even more so.
Practically Speaking: 5 Tips for Better Health if You Work at a Computer
You might be thinking this sounds good in theory… but how do you translate your seated computer job into a standing one? It’s easier than you might think. For starters, check out these essential tips for computer workers:3
1. Stand Up — If you’re lucky, your office may be one that has already implemented sit-stand workstations or even treadmill desks. Those who used such workstations easily replaced 25 percent of their sitting time with standing and boosted their well-being (while decreasing fatigue and appetite).4
But if you don’t have a specially designed desk, don’t let that stop you. Prop your computer up on a stack of books, a printer, or even an overturned trash can and get on your feet.
When I travel in hotels, I frequently use the mini fridge or simply turn the wastebasket upside down and put it on top of the desk, and it works just fine.
2. Get Moving — Why simply stand up when you can move too? The treadmill desk, which was invented by Dr. Levine, is ideal for this, but again it’s not the only option. You can walk while you’re on the phone, walk to communicate with others in your office (instead of e-mailing), and even conduct walking meetings.
3. Monitor Your Screen Height — Whether you’re sitting or standing, the top of your computer screen should be level with your eyes, so you’re only looking down about 10 degrees to view the screen. If it’s lower, you’ll move your head downward, which can lead to back and neck pain. If it’s higher, it can cause dry eye syndrome.
4. Imagine Your Head as a Bowling Ball — Your head must be properly aligned to avoid undue stress on your neck and spine. Avoid craning your head forward, holding it upright instead. And while you’re at it, practice chin retractions, or making a double chin, to help line up your head, neck, and spine.
5. Try the “Pomodoro Technique” — You know those little tomato-shaped (pomodoro is Italian for tomato) timers? Wind one up to 25 minutes (or set an online calculator). During this time, focus on your work intensely. When it goes off, take 5 minutes to walk, do jumping jacks, or otherwise take a break from your work. This helps you to stay productive while avoiding burnout.
What’s It Really Like to Work While Standing?
If you’re curious… just try it. Reactions tend to be mixed, at least initially, but if you stick with it you will be virtually guaranteed to experience benefits. The Guardian, for instance, recently featured an article with a first-hand account of working while standing, and the author wasn’t impressed.
He said “standing up to work felt like a horrible punishment” and lead to aches and decreased productivity.5 I couldn’t disagree more, but I will say that standing all day takes some adjustment. However, many people feel better almost immediately. As one worker who uses an adjustable-height work desk told TIME:6
“I definitely feel healthier standing while working as it causes me to be more focused on my posture and ‘hold’ myself better in terms of my stomach and shoulders especially.”
Personally, standing more has worked wonders for me. I used to recommend intermittent movement, or standing up about once every 15 minutes, as a way to counteract the ill effects of sitting. Now, I’ve found an even better strategy, which is simply not sitting. I used to sit for 12 to 14 hours a day. Now, I strive to sit for less than one hour a day.
After I made this change, the back pain that I have struggled with for decades (and tried many different methods to relieve without lasting success) has disappeared. In addition to not sitting, I typically walk about 15,000 steps a day, in addition to, not in place of, my regular exercise program.
I believe this combination of exercise, non-exercise activities like walking 10,000 steps a day, along with avoiding sitting whenever possible is the key to being really fit and enjoying a pain-free and joyful life.
You’re Not a Prisoner to Your Chair
If you’re still sitting down while reading this… now’s your chance – stand up! As Dr. Levine said:“We live amid a sea of killer chairs: adjustable, swivel, recliner, wing, club, chaise longue, sofa, arm, four-legged, three-legged, wood, leather, plastic, car, plane, train, dining and bar. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you do not have to use them.”
Many progressive workplaces are helping employees to stand and move more during the day. For instance, some corporations encourage “walk-and-talk” meetings and e-mail-free work zones, and offer standing workstations and treadmill desks. But if yours isn’t among them, take matters into your own hands. You may be used to sitting down when you get to work, but try, for a day, standing up instead.
One day can turn into the next and the next, but please be patient and stick with it. Research shows that it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to build a new habit and have it feel automatic.7 Once you get to this point, you’ll likely already be reaping the many rewards of not sitting, things like improved blood sugar and blood pressure levels, less body fat and a lower risk of chronic disease.
NB: For those of us who sit down at a desk most of the day, health and well-being aren’t always easy to work into our lifestyles. Still, the facts show that we must be proactive about eating well and moving enough during the day in order to avoid weight gain, stress and flagging fitness.
Sitting down all day long is one of the worst things for your health, as it increases the likelihood of heart disease and weight gain — among other ills. We sit down at the office, then we sit in the car, and once home, we sit to eat and watch TV!
What to do? Small changes, practiced consistently over a long period of time, are the best way to increase health and well-being. Here are 21 easy-to-adopt ideas to get inspired. Remember, you don’t have to do them all!!
1. Take hourly breaks.
Every hour, get up from your desk and go for a quick walk anywhere (furthest restroom, copy machine, water cooler, colleague’s desk). Just move.
2. Stretch or move in place.
Don’t have anywhere to go? Touch your toes, walk or march in place for a few minutes, do a good set of jumping jacks (who cares what your neighbor thinks!).
3. Take a meeting on the move.
Have a meeting or brainstorm scheduled? Do it while you walk — not only good for fitness, but helps manage stress and fires up creativity!
Unless you work at the top of a 40-story building, consider elevators your enemy. Ditto for escalators and walkways.
5. Forget phone and email.
Not always practical, but try visiting your colleagues in person every once in a while.
6. Walk at lunch.
Have an hour for lunch? Use half to eat, half to walk. Round up a few colleagues and make it a weekly date.
7. Count it out.
Get a pedometer and try to clock 10,000 steps per day.
8. Ditch the car.
When possible, walk, bike, run to work. If you live too far away, try parking far away from your destination and walking part of the way. Or get off the train/metro/bus several stops early.
9. Do something active before you get home.
Stop at the gym/pool/track on the way home from work.
10. Wake up earlier.
The easiest way to work more fitness into the day is with a DVD (yoga, cardio, strength training). Get moving before the rest of the world wakes up!
11. Schedule your weekly fitness on Sunday night.
Studies show that scheduling what you eat and when and how you exercise is the best way to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Write it down!
12. Set alarms on your computer or mobile device.
Every hour at work, have a little ringer go off to remind you to take a stretch or walk to the nearest copy machine.
13. Organize your office.
Use your time filing to stand up and move around your office. Don’t roll your chair around your office to get to your filing cabinets.
14. Walk when you talk.
Since most people talk on their mobile phones, make it a practice to get up from your seat and go for a walk when you’re on the phone.
15. Get friendly with your Tupperware.
If you cook a healthy meal at home, save part of it, and take it to work the next day for lunch. Add a few chopped veggies and you have a great homemade meal!
16. Go nuts!
Instead of buying candy bars or “health” bars (which are loaded with sugar) from the vending machine, keep handy a stash of dry fruit or nuts.
17. Load up on herbal teas.
Forget the coffee breaks with your friends and colleagues. Grab your favorite mug and start sampling herbal teas: try red fruits, verbena, mint for example.
18. Hit the water.
Get yourself a reusable water bottle and keep it on your desk. Make yourself drink at least one full bottle before lunch, and one full one before you go home at the end of the day. Drinking water will keep you fuller and less tempted to snack on empty calories.
19. Just say no!
Say, “No thanks,” to all the treats that get passed around the office: cakes, doughnuts, bagels, cookies. If you’re truly hungry, reach for the dried fruit and nuts.
20. Schedule your meals.
When scheduling your fitness on Sunday night (see above!), work out your meal plans in and out of the office, and include snacks.
21. Skip restaurants whenever possible.
Restaurant food is loaded with extra sugar and salt, and so is unlikely to be as healthy as something you can make at home. Better to have a simple lunch from home or leftovers from the night before.
If you do eat out, choose fresh, healthy salads or other foods when possible. If you eat well at lunch, you won’t want to graze on junk food in the afternoon.
Despite all our best intentions to get up, move around, and exercise more, there are times when we’re locked at our desks for an entire day–sometimes even for more than one day. Here are some simple ways to improve muscle tone, burn calories, and get a whole-body workout without leaving your desk.
1. START BEFORE YOU SIT DOWN
If you know you have a day or a week like this coming up, start before you even get to the office: park your car further away, get off the bus one stop earlier, or just walk around the block before your go through the doors.
If your office has stairs, take them instead of the elevator, at least for a few floors. These more-than-usual steps will wake up your metabolism and act as a muscle warm-up.
2. THINK IN 30-MINUTE CHUNKS
To get the most activity out of an inactive day, set a timer for 30 minutes, and keep setting it for every 30 minutes throughout the day. When it dings, do one or more of the following exercises, which take only a few seconds or minutes (and many can even be done while you’re still working.)
Some of these may draw a little attention to you, but hey, you’re doing a good thing and maybe your hardworking colleagues will join in.
One or two cups of coffee a day are fine, but you’ll feel better and will do more to keep your energy going if you drink water at your desk.
Fill up a big container (at least 16 ounces) and drink it all up before lunch. Do the same thing in the afternoon.
4. KEEP THINKING ABOUT YOUR FEET
Seated walking: While you’re sitting at your desk, move your feet up and down as if you’re walking. Yes, that’s all there is to it.
If you want to get bold with this, go faster, as if you’re running. You can do this all day long, if you want to.
This “fidgeting” burns calories–up to 350 per day, according to Fitness Blender.
5. MOVING’ ON UP: LEGS, HIPS, AND BUTT
Knee raises: Sit up straight in your chair, with your knees at a 90 degree angle. Now raise one foot off the floor and hold it in that position as long as you can. Repeat with the other leg. This exercise works your quads and your hips–you’ll feel it after a few minutes.
Leg Raises: From seated, lift your legs so they are parallel (and still invisible to your neighbors) under your desk. Your quads and hamstrings will thank you.
This is a good move to alternate with your feet-walking activity. You don’t want your lower body to get bored.
Chair squats: That’s right, chair squats. Push your chair back, and then get into a sitting position. Lift up so that your buttocks just touch the chair, lower, and repeat.
Do this for a minute. It’s hard, but so worth it!
Butt squeezes: Clench your butt muscles and hold for as long as you can. Release and repeat.
Printer calf raises: When waiting for documents to print, lift into your tiptoes and back down again. Do as many as you can, each time you print.
This strengthens the backs of your legs and your calves.
If you have a super fast printer that has the job ready by the time you get there, do some calf raises anyway, as long as you’re up.
6. GETTING TO THE CORE
Ab hold: To start, simply pull your abs in, as if you were going to touch them to your back, and hold. This is an anytime, anywhere movement that will tighten your ab muscles and improve your posture at the same time.
It’s easy to do, but hard to remember. That’s why you’re going to be setting that timer. Nobody will ever know you’re doing these.
See the man in this photo? He may or may not be holding in his abs. Or doing butt squeezes.
Ab Lift: Place both hands on the seat of your chair. Keep your knees bent and use your arms to lift yourself off the seat while trying to lift your knees as high as possible. (Obviously, no typing while doing this, but you can still read your screen…)
Chair swivels: Keep both feet on the floor, and swivel your chair from side to side. This is an excellent workout for your core, which includes your abs and back muscles.
7. ARM TONING
Bicep curls: Fill up a big water bottle. Then do a set of 20 bicep curls, and switch arms. The bigger the bottle, the better. According to Management Today, you’ll burn 80 calories for each 10 minutes…now there’s some incentive!
Wrist twists: Holding the same water bottle, move your wrists from side to side and up and down. This will strengthen your lower arms as well as your wrists and hands.
Tricep dips: Facing away from your desk, place your hands on the desk next to your hips, with your fingers hanging off the edge of the desk. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Then bend your elbows to lower yourself to a 90 degree angle. Straighten to return to your standing position.
8. HEAD, NECK, AND SHOULDERS
Shoulder raises: If you’re like most people, you hold tension in your shoulders, and sitting at a desk only makes it worse. Whenever you can, give your shoulders a break. Lift your shoulders all the way up to your ears, hold for a second or so, and then let them drop. Repeat 10-15 times. Make this a habit, and you’ll be releasing stress as you relax your shoulders.
Shoulder rolls: Raise your shoulders up to your ears, and then pull them down and back, so that your shoulder blades are almost touching. Hold for a few seconds, and repeat.
Neck stretches: Let your head drop toward one shoulder, and enjoy that stretch for a few seconds. Repeat on the other side. This will help to eliminate stiffness. For added intensity, use the opposite hand to pull gently on the head.
Have a few minutes and some privacy away from your desk? (Or if you’re not shy, go ahead and do them at your desk.) Jumping Jacks. These are especially good for that mid-afternoon slump, when you’re thinking about caffeine and a sugary snack. Even a minute of these will raise your heart rate and wake you up.
Do as many as you can, then grab some water on the way back to your desk and bypass the sweet temptations.
10: STRETCH IT OUT
LEAVE THE WAY YOU CAME IN
Walk down the stairs. Go the extra distance to your car or to public transportation. Feel good about how you managed to move while desk-bound.