Are Standing Desks the Answer to Better Health at Work?
Do you slouch over your desk at work and wonder if there might be a better way? Many believe standing desks could solve the problem of sitting for too long at work. But do they really help?
What’s the harm in sitting too much?
From the earliest days, humans were always on the move. Hunting, gathering, and traveling were integral parts of daily life. Nowadays, however, many of us spend most of our time glued to a chair and staring at a screen, which is unnatural for our bodies. This extended sitting, humorously called ‘dead butt syndrome,’ has become a silent epidemic of our times.
Sitting for hours has its health risks. It is linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Not moving enough can also reduce blood flow, depriving body parts of essential nutrients.
How to add more movement to your day?
Even if your job involves a lot of sitting, you can find ways to be more active throughout the day.
- Take breaks: Don’t stay seated for hours. Remember to stand up and move about. Even a short walk or some basic stretches can make you feel good.
- Try a standing desk: It encourages you to stand more. Just remember not to stand all the time, as constant standing can be as harmful as constant sitting. Alternate between sitting and standing every hour. When you are standing, make sure your weight is equally distributed between your feet and your knees aren’t locked.
- Walk and talk: Instead of sitting through meetings, walk with colleagues. A change from emailing can be to walk over to someone and discuss in person.
- Make your commute count: If you can, bike or walk to work. Even just choosing stairs makes a difference.
- Do desk exercises: Even seated, try some basic stretches for your neck, shoulders, and hands to keep you active.
- Monitor your activity: Fitness tracking apps and devices can help keep track of your movement. Monitoring your activity can push you to move more and reach daily goals, such as walking 10,000 steps.
- Change your seat: Consider chairs like therapy balls. They work your core muscles and keep you alert.
Caring for your eyes in a digital world
Staring at a computer screen for too long is also harmful and can lead to digital eye strain. To avoid this, practice the 20-20-20 rule—every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. You should also blink more often to prevent dry eyes and ensure your screen is at the right distance to reduce strain.
Let’s talk about ergonomics
A comfortable workspace does not just look and function the best. It is also ergonomic.
- Monitor setup: Your screen should be about arm’s length from you, with the top of the monitor at or just below eye level. This allows for clear vision without straining the eyes while ensuring optimal neck posture.
- Keyboard and mouse: Make sure they are at a height where your wrists are neutral and elbows close to a 90-degree angle.
- Correct sitting posture: When sitting, your hips and knees should form a 90-degree angle. This position ensures optimal weight distribution and reduces the stress on the lower back. If needed, use a footrest.
- Keep your spine neutral: Sitting upright with a straight back reduces the risks of back issues and promotes good breathing.
Today’s work setting is vastly different from our past. While we cannot entirely change the sedentary nature of many jobs, we can make decisions to stay healthy and active at work. Ergonomic setups, increased movement, and eye care can make modern workspaces healthier and more productive.
Dr. Saracina is trained to recognize your symptoms and treat them. Contact her Chiropractic office in Cape Carteret, NC and schedule an assessment appointment.