Sunday, May 4, 2014

Don’t Just Sit There !

Consider the modern-day cubicle dweller: slouching forward in her swivel chair, she zones out in front of a computer while cradling a phone between her shoulder and ear. Her left hand holds a venti latte, her right purposefully pushes a mouse. She’ll remain like this. All. Day. Long.

This image of the corporate working stiff is problematic on many levels, but it’s the improper posture and sustained sitting – unavoidable in many professions -- that may be most hazardous.

The Science of Sitting
In recent years, the medical industry has conducted numerous studies on the hazards of prolonged sitting.
Not surprisingly, a 2010 study found that prolonged sitting has a negative effect on metabolic functions, which in turn increases the risk of obesity and type II diabetes.

These findings boil down to a sobering conclusion: sitting all day, every day, is ravaging our bodies.

Moving Muscles
Sitting for prolonged periods of time without standing, walking or stretching shortens key stabilizing muscles in the spine such as the psoas, iliacus, and abdominal muscles.Also, slouching while sitting overstretches the muscles and ligaments in and around our spine that hold our spine upright.”

Get Out and Get Moving
Simply moving our bodies, even for short spurts of moderate activity, can not only improve physical well-being but also increase productivity and focus.Whether it’s taking a few short laps around the office or standing up and stretching,
Doctors suggests that repositioning every half-hour can make a world of difference.

Stand Up for Your Health
Sitting may not be going out of style, but innovative techniques may mitigate its side effects.
Technology could solve the sitting quandary. From electronically adjustable platforms to attachments that put regular desks at eye level, the latest advances in standing desks offer eco-friendly to aesthetically pleasing options while providing an alignment-enhancing alternative to the sit, slouch, and swivel chair.

Perfecting Your Posture

Making small adjustments to your posture and your work space can make a big difference.

Get comfortable: To find the correct ergonomic position, close your eyes and nod your head up and down.
Upon opening your eyes, wherever your gaze is directed is where your screen should be.
 (This can often be a problem with laptops; doctors suggests propping the computer on a few books to
put it at eye level and investing in an external keyboard.)

Drink up: The disks between the vertebrae are made mostly of water, so stay hydrated to keep them “spongy” – and to counteract the dehydrating effects of caffeine.
Seek stability: Use a pillow to support the lower back, experiment with an adjustable-height desk or a stability ball. Be sure the ball is the correct height, or it won’t put you in the correct ergonomic position.

Slow down to stand up: Stand in slow motion and notice where weight bearing and strain occur. Simple awareness is key.

Get moving: Doctors recommends repositioning every 20-30 minutes, even if it’s just standing up and stretching at your desk.