We all have days where we don’t feel like getting up and moving around, but the unfortunate truth is that sitting too much is very hard on the body. Excessive sedentary behavior—common and seemingly “unavoidable” if you have a desk job that requires you to sit for 8 hours a day—can increase the risk for back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and other types of work-related musculoskeletal injuries.
Take a minute and think about how much time do you spend in a chair or on a couch? Did you realize that sitting for 6-8 hours per day—or watching 3-4 hours of television—has been shown to increase the risk of chronic illness and early death? It’s stunning research, especially considering that the average American sits as much as 12 hours per day!
At our physical therapy clinic, it’s our mission to help people move better and feel better—and minimizing chair time is a huge part of this. Talk to our physical therapist staff if you’d like to set up an appointment and get going on a treatment plan that will help you start feeling better than ever. In the meantime, check out these tips for increasing your physical activity during your workday.
1. Utilize fitness technology.
There are tons of different pieces of technology out there nowadays for you to use to track how much physical activity you’re getting in a day. Wearing a pedometer to track your steps can motivate you to get up and move around the office more often. You can also consider setting a timer to go off once an hour to alert you when it’s time to take a break from sitting and get out of your chair. Walking around your office or down the street for lunch can make all the difference.
2. Try a standing desk.
Did you know that standing desks are now an option? Many companies now offer sit to stand desks because they’ve seen the research: employees who get to stand more may experience increased job satisfaction, alertness, and productivity—while also reducing their risk for the physical effects of “sitting disease.”
Even if you can’t get an adjustable desk for your office, it may be possible to make your DIY version with some sturdy boxes and other material. Get creative! You may even consider asking your supervisor or office manager about investing in adjustable desks or attachments.
3. Stay hydrated.
And no, we don’t mean chugging four cups of coffee a day, we mean water! Drinking at least one third to one half your body weight in fluid ounces per day can keep your body properly hydrated. It’ll also force you to get out of your chair more because you’ll find yourself needing to go to the bathroom more often.
A good way to practice drinking more water is to keep a stainless steel or glass water bottle handle with you at all times, drink regularly, and thank your body for the frequent signals that are sending you to the bathroom.
4. Take the stairs!
Physical activity may not be able to offset all the negative effects of sitting too much, but it may help some! Meeting the American Heart Association’s minimum recommendation of 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise is important, but those “non-exercise” activities add up, too. Park farther away from the office, take the stairs, and if necessary, talk to a physical therapist about custom orthotics and other strategies to make activity more comfortable
5. Move around for phone calls.
Instead of holding your meeting or phone calls while sitting in a boardroom, see if it’s possible to take that appointment on the move and talk while you walk! Walking has been shown to boost creativity and problem-solving as well, so that’s a bonus.
Ready to get more active and leave your sedentary lifestyle? Let us help.
Sitting for too long just isn’t good for your body or your lifespan. It’s important to be aware of how often you’re sitting down, and how much activity you’re getting in a day so that you can make sure you’re on top of your health!
If you’d like to talk with a team of professionals about getting back into a good physical activity routine, call our clinic today or visit us in Little Rock, AR. Our physical therapy staff can help you manage an injury or condition that has limited your standing tolerance, and get you on your feet with greater confidence.