Does your job require you to sit for most of the day? It could be slowly killing you. According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the dangers of a desk job go far beyond tension headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome.
In fact, the study revealed that sitting for 11 or more hours per day increases your risk of dying in the next three years by 40 percent!
Even if you don’t sit for that long, you’re still not off the hook.
The research also revealed that adults who sat between eight and 11 hours each day still had a 15 percent increase in their mortality risk, in comparison to those who sat for less than four hours per day.
The health risks of sitting too long include obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
So what can you do to decrease them?
Here are 5 techniques to start using today:
1. Take a Few Laps
A good way to get your heart pumping is to take a few laps around the office.
If your workplace is large enough, you can make these laps a part of your working routine. Get up and make some calls, talk with a colleague face-to-face, or go to the mail room and unburden your inbox.
If the weather is nice, take a walk around outside.
2. Exercise at Your Desk
You don’t even have to stand up to reduce the health risks of sitting. Simple desk exercises like stretching, shoulder rolls, and core-strengthening techniques can help keep chronic diseases at bay.
Here are two you can practice right now:
- Leg Lifts
Roll your chair away from your desk, hold both sides of the seat for support, and, keeping your knee bent, lift one leg toward your chest. Do this 10-20 times for each leg.
- Core Strengthener
Holding your chair for support and keeping both feet locked together, bend your knees and straighten them out in front of you. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10-20 times. You’ll feel it right in your middle.
3. Take Your Work With You
If you have a laptop or smartphone, you can get up from your desk and still stay on task. Return phone calls in the cafeteria or take an hour to work standing up with your laptop on the break room counter. (No need to feel weird, you’re a trendsetter!)
4. Have a Ball
Sitting on a stability ball helps improve your balance while actively working your core. You may even feel more energized and productive!
There’s no need to replace your office chair entirely. Instead, try rotating between the two every 30 minutes or so throughout the day.
5. Try “Microbreaking”
Every 30 to 45 minutes, work in a microbreak. A microbreak is an activity that lasts under two minutes and breaks up your repetitive routine.
For example, take a break from clicking your mouse to check your voicemail. Get up and file or make copies. Walk to the water cooler and get a drink. Or, simply stand up and enjoy a lengthy stretch.
“The idea is simple: no chair or efficiently arranged computer workstation, no matter how comfortable, can protect you from the danger of hours of sitting every day. The only truly ergonomic workstation “arrangement” is to break free of it regularly. You must have a “come here/go away” relationship with your workstation.” – View full article on PainScience.com
Although it may sometimes feel like it, you’re not literally tied to your desk, and breaking free of it on a regular basis can greatly reduce your likelihood of developing a life-threatening disease.
Implementing these techniques may seem foreign at first, but soon, they’ll be an automatic part of your daily routine.