Does sitting at work for prolonged periods of time ever bother you?
A survey of Canadian office workers regarding physical activities performed at work done by ParticipACTION found that 63 per cent of workers were worried about how much time they spend sitting and want to sit less at work. Another 32 per cent of respondents from the same study said they spend too much time sitting during meetings.
When sitting, especially for long periods, most of us have a tendency to slouch over the keyboard. With our arms in front of us, our back becomes hunched and our chest concaved from the pressures of this compromised position.
The consequences of sitting like this for long periods of time may not be felt immediately, but over time our hamstrings and hips feel a bit tighter, and our back and neck a little stiffer. And, improper sitting posture can transfer over into improperly standing posture – which can compound our pain and stiffness. However, there are several ways to get more standing in, even if you’re stuck at a desk all day.
Possibly the simplest thing you can do to reduce your sitting time at work is to move things like the printer or boxes of files away from your desk, which will cause you to get up and move. While having the printer right beside you is convenient, you could get a stretch and a couple extra steps if you moved it to the back of the office.
Another simple way of getting in some standing time in is to set a timer to get up every 15-20 minutes. If you think that this method is too artificial, and that you will not obey your own rule, another way is to drink more water – which will force you to get up, and most of us should drink a lot more water anyway!
If you are more courageous and really want to increase your standing time, consider getting a standing desk. While this can sound intimidating, a number of standing desk are adjustable – meaning that a sitting option is available for when you become fatigued.
But if you are set on sitting, at least try getting a ball chair in addition to your regular office chair. By sitting on a ball chair, it will not be as easy to sit for prolonged periods of time with poor posture. A ball chair will make you sit more upright, promoting a healthier spine, engaging your core, and relieving some of tension from your neck and shoulders.
Consider consulting an Occupational Therapist to review your work station to provide the best ergonomic recommendations.