Although many jobs require hours of sitting every day, sitting for long periods of time can be very stressful on the human body. With excessive sitting, there is an increased risk of a dangerous type of blood clot called deep vein thrombosis forming in the legs. Sitting for long periods can also increase the risk of serious ailments like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and herniated lumbar disks. The stiffness of the muscles caused by sitting in the same position all day contributes to a higher risk of injury. Luckily, there are many ways to combat the negative effects of sitting.
1. Do stretches at your desk.
Stretch your legs out underneath your desk. Straighten them out to get the blood flowing. With your legs straight, point your toes back at your body to give your calves a nice stretch. Raising your arms above your head to stretch them is also very useful. You can also stretch your arms out from side to the side. Looking up from your work space and turning your head to each side slowly can help loosen tense neck muscles from being in the same position for too long.
2. Change your position often while sitting.
It keeps you from getting stiff and sore and keeps blood flowing. Having a footstool under your desk to place one foot on is helpful. Every once in a while, switch which foot is on the stool and which is on the floor to shift your muscles preventing stiffness.
3. Do exercises at your desk.
Move your feet around in circles to get blood flowing in your legs and ankles. Do leg lifts under your desk to refresh your blood flow and soothe aching muscles. You can also roll your shoulders back, or perform trunk rotations in your chair to loosen up tense muscles and joints. Standing up to walk around from time to time can help prevent the stiffness and risk of blood clots from too much sitting. Marching in place for a few minutes can refresh you if you can’t walk around the office.
4. Invest in a standing desk.
Standing at your desk makes it easier to shift positions. You are free to move around in a standing position, which makes you more likely to engage in the light movements that will help keep your muscles moving and prevent stiffness. Unlike being bent in a sitting position, standing also holds your body in a better position for blood flow. Standing desks make it easier for you to march in place if you need to or shift from foot to foot.
Now you are armed with the knowledge of a few helpful ways to combat the negative effects of sitting. With a little conscientious effort, working at a desk can have much fewer detrimental effects on your body. Small solutions like stretches or exercises can be just the help you need. For the biggest change, a standing desk can be a great solution.