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Stuck at a Desk All Day? Here are 6 Ways to Maintain Your Health

By Brian Acton

The typical office worker spends long hours sitting at their workstation and staring at a screen. But long sedentary periods have been linked to a variety of health issues including heart disease, diabetes, decreased mobility and back problems. Office workers should be mindful of the potential hazards and take steps to reduce the risk of developing health problems. Here are six tips for fighting the adverse effects of a desk job. 1. Practice Good Posture Office workers are frequently drawn toward their computer screens, hunching forward and craning their necks. This puts a lot of unnecessary strain on the neck and spine. Ideally, you should sit up straight with your shoulders relaxed, your arms close to your sides, and your feet flat on the floor. 2. Take Breaks You can counter some of the negative health effects of a desk job simply by getting up and walking around a bit. Taking regular breaks allows you to get some exercise and loosen up. How you do that is up to you, but you could try walking to a colleague’s office to chat in lieu of an email and setting regular calendar reminders to get up for a short burst of activity. 3. Make Time to Stretch Sitting for long periods of time can cause tightness in the hips, legs, neck, and shoulders. Over time, this can lead to decreased mobility, especially in the hips. If you take time to stretch your hip flexors, neck, back, and other affected areas, you’ll maintain better mobility and reduce discomfort. You can get started by signing up for yoga classes or looking up a few stretches to perform at home or in the office. 4. Place Your Monitor at the Right Level If your monitor isn’t placed at the proper height, you may need to adjust to save your spine. If your screen is too low, your head will point forward and down, which puts strain on your neck and spine. If your screen is too high, you may tend to lean back too far and tilt your head forward at an unnatural angle. For proper placement, the top of the monitor should be at or just below eye level. 5. Get a Standing Desk Adjustable standing desks can be moved between standing and sitting positions, so that you can spend all or part of your day standing at your desk. Standing at work builds muscles, promotes proper posture, increases blood flow, and burns calories. If you’re used to sitting all day, you may want to gradually increase the amount of time you spend standing and be sure to practice good standing posture. 6. Get a Lumbar Support Pillow Extended periods of sitting put an unnatural amount of pressure on the spine, which can lead to serious back pain. Lumbar support pillows provide support and comfort to your lower back and help you maintain proper spinal curvature. Plus, they’re easy to use and relatively affordable. Sources https://www.washingtonpost.com/apps/g/page/national/the-health-hazards-of-sitting/750/ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/07/yoga-desk-job_n_3707818.html https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/components_monitors.html
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