It’s no surprise that repeatedly sitting for prolonged periods of time can negatively affect the body. Sitting too much can result in muscle aches, stiffness, pain, and possibly injury. In fact, a lack of mobility can lead to poor blood circulation to your joints and muscles and inhibit your flexibility and strength. However, there ARE ways to help negate such effects. If you find yourself having to sit for extended periods of time while working at your computer, for example, then you’ll want to keep these tips in mind throughout the day to help loosen your muscles and get your body moving (APTA, n.d.):
- Remember to take frequent small breaks by getting up from your chair throughout your day to break up the time you are sitting. For example, take a trip to the water fountain to fill up your water bottle or simply take a short walk around the office.
- To stretch your neck, gently turn your head slowly from left to right. To relieve shoulder tension, slowly roll your shoulders backwards.
- If working on a computer, make sure the monitor is directly in front of you with the top of the monitor positioned at eye level and at a distance that allows you to view the screen without having to hunch over or lean backward.
- If possible, use a desk with a keyboard tray. A keyboard on top of your desk is typically too high for most people, which can cause you to extend your arms or raise your shoulders, which causes tension.
- Use a desk that’s at an appropriate height for you to position your knees under the keyboard tray or desk.
- If you can, use a chair that includes adjustable arm rests and adjustable height to help you to comfortably sit close to your desk.
And finally, here at Physical Therapy First, we will be offering #PTFtip videos on our PTF Youtube channel! In this video, Maureen Ambrose, PT, DPT, OCS, COMT, offers her posture tips when sitting: PTtip Posture Video
Healthy nutrition is another important component to overall wellness in the workplace. A few simple changes to your workday can go a long way in bettering your health. For example, pack your lunch instead of buying take-out. You’ll not only have control over the ingredients and portion size of your meal, but you’ll also save yourself money. A good example of an easy, yet nutrient dense lunch is a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with sliced avocado and fresh vegetables like spinach, tomato, and cucumber. Pair this with a side of fruit and you have yourself a nutritious meal filled with vitamins and minerals, lean protein, fiber, healthy fats, and whole grains!
Another tip is to keep healthy snacks with you at work when hunger strikes. Some great options include Greek yogurt without added sugars, fresh fruit or dried fruit where the only ingredient is the fruit itself, a serving of nuts like almonds or pistachios, or pre-cut veggies like carrots or celery sticks with hummus or natural peanut/almond butters.
If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with one of our physical therapists to help with your mobility, give our office a call at 855-PT-First today!
American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). (n.d.) Workplace wellness. Retrieved from: http://www.moveforwardpt.com/Resources/Detail/workplace-wellness
*As a reminder, always discuss any questions or concerns with your physician regarding your health, as the information written should not replace any medical advice.