Prevent Your Desk Job From Killing You
It is probably obvious to most of us that sitting all day is not the best thing for your health, but is it killing you? Seem a bit drastic? There are studies linking sitting to:
- decrease life-expectancy
- some types of cancer
This CNN article is a reasonable summary of some of that research. Here is a free, open source journal article on the topic as well. We want to focus on solutions, not problems. Sitting is not avoidable for everyone in our industrial society, but there are some actions you can take to reduce the stress it puts on your body.
There are more and more offices offering standing or treadmill desks, which definitely reduces sitting, but this is not always an easy or cost effective option. Exercise is important, but even if you are exercising for hours after sitting all day long, you are not going to counteract all of that sitting. This series of simple exercises can be done easily at the office throughout the day to break up sitting and reduce some of the stress it puts on your body. Other than a few minutes of your time, it won’t cost you anything. They are gentle and safe for almost everyone and are great anti-desk/sitting movements.
- Do 5-10 repetitions of each exercise
- Do this every 15-30 minutes of sitting. Even every hour or two will help
This gets your weight bearing joints doing exactly that and is a great whole body exercise. The video goes into some detail as far as technique, which is important, but using body weight with this number of repetitions should be safe even without ideal technique:
This is a great way to open up your shoulders and avoid some of the posture pitfalls of sitting:
This is a bit more aggressive than the Overheads exercise, but adds some neck motion, eye tracking, and external rotation of the shoulders.
These simple exercises will not completely undo the effects of sitting, but they are very easy to implement and are extremely cost effective. Daily postural hygiene exercises like these are great additions to your other exercise activities, or a simple way to get started.