The mayo clinic has made these statements about health issues due to sitting for long periods of time:
- A nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause.
- About a 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack.
There is much more research with how sitting is killing us. I agree, the sedentary posture that most of Americans are in for 8-10 hours per day is increasing our risks for heart disease, diabetes and other comorbidities. Clearly, scientific evidence shows we are at higher risk of health issues due to long periods of sitting.
As much as possible you need to get up and stretch or go for a walk. Get moving as much as you can when not at work. Increase your activity, activity is in your day to day activities. Exercise is an event, you need different clothes and usually some equipment. Increasing your activity is easy - park in the farthest parking spot from the door, use the bathroom that is farther away, use the stairs, go for a walk during your lunch break, etc.
When you are seated for long periods of time at your desk here are a few tips you need to abide by so you do not end up with neck and back pain. The kind of pain the which discourages physical activity at best, or restricts it at worse.
- Phone - get a headset! Don’t ever hold the phone between your shoulder and ear, it overworks the muscles on one side which leads to imbalance.
- Keyboard & Mouse - follow the 90 degree rule. Your forearms should be bent at 90 degrees and relaxed. Adjust your seat height to accommodate this. You should not be reaching forward for your keyboard or mouse; your upper arm should be flush with your torso.
- Seat - you should use your chair as support. You should sit as far back as possible and use the back of the chair to help you sit up straight.
- Legs - your knees and ankles should also follow the 90 degree rule. Your legs should be directly in front of you and feet flat on the ground. If they don’t, grab a stool or some books to prop them up.
- Monitor - your monitor should be directly in front of you and you should be able to reach out and touch the screen without leaning forward. The midline of your monitor should be at your eye level. Prop up the monitor with some books if it is not adjustable.
If you need adjacent papers to assist your work you should invest in a desktop document holder. This will keep the paper at an angle which will not affect your neck. If you work on a laptop this can be tricky to set up a proper workstation. I recommend getting a separate keyboard and mouse. Then you can bring the screen up to your eye level with books and your arms will not be reaching forward for the keyboard and mouse. If you work from home I never recommend sitting on a bed or couch. Get supported. Sit at your dining table with a supportive chair, you can even invest in a lumbar support to keep you sitting up right.
As the Mayo Clinic has said, sitting too long can kill you - reduce your risk and related health issues. Time for me to get up and get that cup of tea. Want to join me? Share your comments below.