Landing that first job after college is something we all look forward to. Your hard work and dedication has finally paid off, and you feel a certain type of validation as a result. For most Americans, work means being at a desk and computer for most, if not all of the workday, even at an integrated marketing firm. This is an adjustment that takes some getting used to, and I can tell you first hand that is was something I am still getting used to myself.
Recent studies and statistics show that sitting for six or more hours a day has many negative effects on the body, even if you exercise regularly. According to a recent infographic published by medical billing and coding (linked below) the negative effects of sitting are many: electrical activity in the legs shuts down, the body completely stops burning calories, HDL cholesterol production drops by as much as 20 percent, and the risk of diabetes increases by as much as 24 percent.
The majority of our careers most likely tie us to desks, and while recent studies may not be very promising, it’s no reason to give up hope. There are options:
- Ask your company to invest in a standing workstation.
This is a new trend in most open-minded workplaces. If all else fails, see your doctor and have a note outlining the health benefits.
- Stand whenever you can.
When not sitting at your desk, get up and move! Don’t waste your precious downtime burning time on the Internet. Walk around the building if necessary, and take a walk outside if weather permits!
- Hold standing meetings
These not only provide a health benefit, the chances are the meeting will finish quicker, saving you time.
Because sitting isn’t the only risk factor of working long days at your desk, I’ve included some bonus health tips that will benefit anyone who spends time sitting at a desk.
- Stay hydrated at work
Staying hydrated keeps your mind sharp, your energy up and your metabolism efficient. Don’t settle for less than eight large glasses of water a day. Drinking a lot of water gives you more opportunity to get up and stretch your legs, too.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule
Eyestrain is a huge contributor to office fatigue. Staring at a computer all day takes a toll on your eye. Every 20 minutes move your eyes away from the screen and look at something roughly 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will help relax your eyes and keep your working with less fatigue.
- Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a painful nerve condition that results from compression on the forearms from typing and using a mouse for extended periods of time. There are ways to prevent this painful condition:
- Invest in ergonomic computer peripherals like a vertical mouse that inverts your hand during use.
- Practicing Yoga can have a major impact on preventing and even reversing effects of Carpal Tunnel
- Take frequent breaks and stretch your hands and wrists during the workday.
With a proactive mindset, the negative effects of sitting in an office all day can be erased. When armed with the knowledge of how to prevent detrimental habits and how to stay healthy at work, you can help contribute to an overall healthier lifestyle (something we’ve encouraged before in our post on Work-Life Balance).
What unconventional things do you find yourself doing to stay active at school or work? Weigh in with your comments and suggestions below!