How to Stay Healthy Even If You Have to Sit at Your Desk All Day
26 October, 2020
Sitting all day is proven to be dangerous to your health. It may leave the door more open for cardiovascular disease and the like to set in. Sadly, these diseases could have been avoided in the first place if we just moved around more per Harvard Health Publishing.
But sedentary living is the reality that most desk workers face. The seemingly long hours of sitting can affect posture and lead to more body pains. Remember, the body needs to move, and this is why there is a goal for several steps daily. And no, 10,000 steps is not required, although batting for 7,500 steps a day can protect your body from certain illnesses as per this BBC article.
But more than that, Psychology Today discussed that researchers gather evidence that human beings are ill-suited to the screen-focused, sedentary lifestyle enjoyed by many in westernized societies, where high-fat, high-calorie food is readily available 24/7.
On a larger scale, sedentary behavior is also encouraged by the societal changes around us. A study by Owen, Sparling, Healy, Dunstan, and Matthews discussed that work sites, schools, homes, and public spaces have been (and continue to be) re-engineered in ways that minimize human movement and muscular activity. All said, these changes have a dual effect on human behavior: people move less and sit more.
Becoming aware of your lifestyle
This is where self-awareness becomes an element of daily living. If you are someone who sits at the desk all day, you might have to go around your activities for the day. Of course, working should not be neglected at all costs. But listening to your body will also make you a healthier and better person overall.
You might have to make a list of things that keep your butt on the chair and consider some alternatives for a healthier body. Here is a list of activities that you might want to inject throughout your day:
1. Stand up more -- Is this easier said than done? Well, for those who are always in the zone to get tasks done, this might be more of a disturbance. But sitting less does wonder to the body: Just by standing more, there is a lower chance of acquiring diseases like diabetes, obesity, and early death, as said in this Medical News Today article. In a nutshell: Get moving for longer life.
You can use technology when it comes to this. Schedule an alarm on your phone, so you remember to stand up and stretch every hour.
2. Do some exercises -- Doing some tiny workouts within the day can be helpful to keep the blood circulating. You do not have to do an intense workout with machines to do this. All you need is your body weight, a dose of dedication, and some furniture in your home.
Here are some light exercises that you can do at home:
a. Lunges -- Stand upright with both of your feet at a neutral angle. Step forward with one foot until your leg reaches a 90-degree angle. While in this position, you can try to do some pulses as well. Just lower and lift your leg while staying in the same lunging position. You can do this one to five times until you feel some burning sensation. Once done, you can lift your front lunging leg to return to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 12 reps on one leg, or switch off between legs until you've totaled 10 to 12 reps per leg.
b. Squats -- Stand tall with your hands by your sides, feet shoulder-width apart, and toes pointed forward. Keep your back straight with an activated core. Slowly push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. You can either pause or do pulses before pushing yourself back up to the starting position.
c. Tricep dips -- Give your upper body some workout with a couple of tricep dips. Grab a chair and sit on the edge while gripping the edge next to your hips. Point your fingers towards your feet. Extend your legs are while keeping your feet should be about hip-width apart with the heels touching the ground. Look straight ahead with your chin up. Press into your palms to lift your body and slide forward just far enough that your behind clears the edge of the chair. Then lower yourself until your elbows are between 45 and 90 degrees. Slowly push yourself back up to the start position and repeat. Control the movement throughout the range of motion. Begin with three sets of 10 repetitions and increase your sets and reps over several weeks as you build strength in your triceps.
3. Drink more water -- This is a two-in-one activity. First, it keeps you hydrated, which is good for overall well-being and great skin, among others. Second, since you drink more, you would have to stand up and take bathroom breaks more frequently. You can stay off the chair for a couple of minutes.
Your outlook on life will have an impact on your body. If you choose to go for health and wellness, your actions will take you to that route. Making wellness a part of your life will happen before you even know it.