How Often Should You Stand Up From Your Desk?
It has been well documented by numerous medical experts that sitting down at your work or office desk for hours on end can adversely affect your health in many ways. There are several solutions to this, and one of the simplest is to simply stand up from your desk.
This then begs the question of how often you should do so, so we are going to answer that in this article along with one or two other tips to help you ensure that working at your desk is not harming your health.
Why Sitting Down The Wrong Way Is Harmful To Your Health
Sitting down might seem an unlikely source of adverse health, given that it is something everyone does literally every day. Sitting in and of itself is not the issue, but it is more the way in which you sit, and the length of time that you sit that can be problematic.
The way in which you suit is generally termed as your posture, and doubtless, you will have heard people speaking about poor or bad posture. Specifically, in relation to sitting, poor posture covers things like slouching, leaning forward with your head, leaning back so that your spine is curved, or sitting with a phone between your neck and shoulders. All of these can lead to issues with your joints and muscles, and they are especially liable to cause back pain.
Not only is sitting poorly a problem but sitting down for long periods can also create issues for your back. When sitting your back is not in its natural 'S' shape but instead is in a 'C' shape. This isn't an issue if you are sitting for short periods, but sitting for hours can cause damage to soft tissue in your back and worse than that can cause your disks too.
Why Sitting Down For Long Periods Is Harmful To Your Health
As well the problem with posture, sitting down all day is not a particularly healthy way to spend your time, even if it is part of your job, and you’re getting paid to do so. The stress on your spine is considerable when you are sitting, and if you are sitting without interruption for several hours at a time that stress is magnified.
Being sedentary for hours on end is certainly not going to add anything to your wellbeing; in fact, it does exactly the opposite. Your body needs movement to be well, and this applies especially to parts of your body like your legs, for example. If they do not get the opportunity to move, the larger muscles in your legs become weakened and more prone to injuries such as pulls and strains.
The flexor muscles in your hips also depend on regular exercise, even if that is a simple walk. Without it, they shorten, which can lead to issues with your hip joints. Varicose veins are another unwanted ailment which can be the result of sitting down for long periods. While they are not normally dangerous, they can cause blood clots, which most certainly are.
Your heart and lungs aren't exactly deriving any benefits from you sitting down for hours each day, and the risks of other issues such as weight gain, increased insulin resistance, deep vein thrombosis, and even our mental health have all been shown to be increased in those who sit down all day and get no form of exercise.
Standing Up and Moving Around
While it might not seem like it, standing up from your desk and moving around can be considered a form of exercise. It is certainly a lot more desirable to do so than to remain seated for the entirety of the day. By getting up and walking around for a minute or so you allow your heart to beat a little stronger and your lungs fill up with more oxygen. These two aspects alone will bring several health benefits.
You are also improving your circulation, giving the muscles and joints in your legs some well-needed movement, and you are releasing the pressure on your back, especially your spine. You are also giving your eyes a welcome rest from your computer monitor.
The great thing about taking a standing break if you sit for long periods is that they only need to be a minute or two in duration. In terms of how often you do so, there are various views on this, but for the maximum benefit, you should try to stand every 30 minutes or so. The best way to do this is to set a reminder on your computer or an alarm on your smartphone.
This means over an 8-hour workday, you are standing and walking for up to a total of 30 minutes, or 250 minutes each working week, which is bound to be beneficial for your health versus sitting for that length of time.