“Sitting has become the smoking of our generation.” — Nilofer Merchant
Are you spending the typical 9-5 workday firmly glued to your chair while staring at your work computer, in your cubicle, five days per week? As you probably know, sitting for long periods of time without any physical movement is quite unhealthy and can have unwanted side effects in the long run, including back pain, eye strain, weight gain, and even an increased risk of blood clots.
But let’s face it: with our dependency on the internet, email, social media, and our computers to do our jobs and get any work done productively, desk jobs of some kind are here to stay.
Here are some tips and exercises that you can easily do on the job to help you get moving.
Make an ergonometric work environment
First and foremost, you need to ensure that your work environment is comfortable enough for you to be able to concentrate on your work. Incorporate the science of ergonomics in your office space. Be sure that your computer is 30 centimeters away from your face and at eye level.
Follow the 20-20-20 rule
Remember to blink every 20 seconds, and give your eyes a break by looking at something at least 20 feet away every 20 minutes. Adjust the height of your chair so that your knees are at 90 degrees to the floor. If your chair is uncomfortable, ask for a new chair or bring a soft cushion. Use a rocking foot stool, and make a point of getting up frequently for a quick stroll around the office or a washroom break. (Keep a water bottle on your desk and remember to sip it frequently; it’s good for you and for bathroom breaks!)
Do some office exercises
Instead of sitting on your chair, try sitting on a yoga ball for a bit to strengthen your core muscles and improve balance. Stretch your neck, raise your arms above your head, raise your legs off the floor, and rotate your shoulders and ankles. Stand up as often as possible. Get up and walk over to your colleagues instead of just using IM chat or email. While standing, balance on one foot and then alternate.
The most fun mini-exercise? Make jokes at the office! Laughing is a stress reliever that works your core, your diaphragm, and your heart. Start with small changes and make them into a habit to get both your body and career moving!
Shaheerah Kayani is a Technical Recruiter at Planet4iT within the Finance, Capital Markets and Wealth Management domain. She formerly worked as a Professional Resume Writer. Connect with her on LinkedIn.