Sitting is also called the new smoking. Sitting around for hours each and every day can cause major problems. Nevertheless, we are increasingly working with computers through a sedentary profession, with the result that we are having more and more hours. Neurologist Erik Scherder indicated that research has shown that 1 in 3 Dutch people is 7 to 16 (!) Hours a day. Sitting all day (especially behind the computer) is very stressful for our body. It increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and include colon cancer and diabetes. In addition, there is a poor circulation of the brain, so we can become tired and unproductive. We can solve this by scheduling enough time in between to move and to take a not-too-stressful attitude. These 10 tips give you tools to deal with it as well as possible.
1. Move every hour
Make sure you move at least every hour. This can for example already be a loop to the coffee machine (on another floor). If you are still waiting, then go on your toes or exercise your balance on one leg. You can also do some simple exercises behind your computer, such as raising your arms for a moment, turning your head or stretching your back completely. The main thing is that your muscles get blood circulation and you are out of that static position.
2. Display at the right height
Make sure the display of your computer is at a good height. Many people work behind a laptop. Because your screen is attached to your keyboard, you look down and it is almost impossible to adopt an ergonomically sound posture. It is much better to take an attitude where you look straight forward, because then your head is right above your spine, which is the least stressful for your neck muscles. As soon as you ‘creep’ towards your screen, a kind of leverage effect occurs and the forces become much larger. So make sure that your monitor is at a height where you can look straight ahead when you are sitting upright. From a practical point of view, it is therefore useful to position your screen and keyboard independently of each other.
3. Meeting standing
Suggest to your colleagues to meet in standing. Research (1) has shown that standing meetings are more efficient and 34% faster. People would come to the point more quickly and you immediately stretched your legs. A win-win situation!
4. Movement on the way
See if you can take some (low-intensity) movement along the way to and from work. For example, go by bike, get off a stop earlier, park further away or take the stairs instead of the elevator. This costs relatively little extra time but yields a lot.
5. Workplace check
Have your workplace checked by a specialist. At many large companies there is an ergonomist who can see what a good working posture, seat height and desk height is for you. If you have to spend so many hours at that place, it is important to adapt it especially for you.
6. Making a phone call
See if you can do certain activities, such as telephone calls, on foot. This just provides some extra required movement. Walk around the park with a headset, so you can enjoy some physical exercise while you work and also get some fresh air.
7. Ask for a high / low desk
Fortunately, more and more employers see that it is important to take good care of their staff. A high / low desk can be a good solution if you have to sit all day. There are easily adjustable desks available, with which you can alternate standing and sitting (for example every hour).
8. Walking lunch
It sounds cliché, but walking lunch is a very good solution for more exercise during your work. If you do not like walking food, you could choose to go to a coffee shop or bread shop, for which you have to take a walk.
9. Then exercise
See if there are opportunities to start exercising after your workday. Sometimes there are even bootcamp classes or fitness opportunities within the company. For some people it is the perfect start to the day and for the slightly less morning people, sports is a solution immediately after working hours. By following your work day afterwards, you lower the threshold for yourself. See if you can find something that you like and that you get energy from. For a good cardiovascular system, it is important to take at least 20 minutes of intensive physical exercise at least 3 times a week (2).
10. Loose mouse
If you still have to work while sitting behind a computer, then take care of a loose mouse. Working on a touch pad is extra stressful for your arm and shoulder, because they are often in a cramp-like position.