As an office worker you may be bound to a desk and a computer. For most of us this means that we may sit most of the day. You might think staying seated is one of the safest things you could do, but too much sitting can hurt your body in a number of ways:
How sitting too much can hurt your body:
- Increases your risk of heart disease
- Increases your risk of diabetes
- Causes poor circulation in your legs, which could lead to varicose veins or blood clots
- May lead to fatigue and food cravings
- Less activity leads to weight gain
- Weakens your abdominal and gluteal (butt) muscles
- Contributes to other structural problems in the spine and hips
We checked in with Laurie Ledford RD, our very own Nutritionista, for her tips to help us escape the chains of our desks.
What is a desk-bound office worker to do?
Here are a few tips to get you out of your chair.
- Don’t rely on an hour or less of exercise to make up for a whole day of sitting. You need to get up and move more often than that to offset the bad effects of sitting.
- If you have a sit-to-stand desk, alternate positions throughout the day.
- If you don’t have a special desk, stand up whenever you don’t need to be touching your keyboard or your desk – e.g., when answering the phone, while reading, while talking with a coworker.
- Sit on an exercise ball or a stool with no back, so that your core muscles will have to do some work. Always sit with your feet flat on the floor.
- Hold walking meetings.
- Drink lots of water (or other unsweetened beverage) throughout the day, so that you will have to get up to relieve yourself of this fluid frequently.
- Get away from your desk every 30-45 minutes to give your eyes a break and do something active – e.g., pushups against your desk, wall sitting (back against the wall with legs bent at 90 degrees), squats, calf raises, brisk walking, stretches or yoga poses.
- Keep a resistance band in your office. Use it to perform squats, lunges and upper body exercises during your breaks.
- Park far away, in a shady spot. This gives you a nice little walk to and from work, plus a cooler car in the afternoon.
For more information on how just a little more standing for office or around the home can make all the difference check out this post on how to burn more calories without adding a workout.
The Nutritionista (aka Laurie Ledford) is a Registered Dietitian at Tucson Medical Center who uses her knowledge and experience every day to support patients making healthy nutrition choices and prevent or combat the major killers of our time. Have a question about something you’ve heard or seen about nutrition or diet? Send your question to the Nutritionista at tmcforwomen at gmail dot com. Check back on TMC for Women for Nutritionista’s blog posts.