Many individuals work behind their desk the entire workday. Others find that they are on their feet for 40 hours every week. Both types of work environments can cause significant suffering and pain and greatly affect your health and fitness. However, the following tips can help you maintain better fitness while at work, and during the off hours.
Sitting at a Desk
Individuals that need to sit behind a desk for long hours during the workday tend to suffer from stiff and achy muscles, and lower back pain. Constantly sitting in the same position for long durations has been known to affect people’s health in a negative manner. There is a direct link between heart disease and type II diabetes with individuals that sit at their desk 40 hours or more every week.
Working Standing Up
Individuals that stand on their feet for 40 hours or more every week suffer greatly, just like those that sit behind their desk. Long hours of constant standing can lead to varicose veins and other painful conditions. This is often a result of the lack of circulation in the lower extremities, where the muscles are not allowed to contract properly, like when walking or running.
What to Do
The easiest way to improve health and fitness is to take specific steps to alleviate the common problems of working in the same position all day. For those that sit behind a desk, make a few changes in your daily routine. Instead of taking the elevator, walk up the stairs whenever possible. When on the phone, stand up from the desk and move about, as far as the cord will reach. Instead of calling a colleague on the phone to discuss something, walk over to their desk.
For individuals that stand on their feet for the entire day, consider wearing better shoes, with heels that are 1” or lower. Whenever possible, change your position for at least a little while. Consider taking breaks where you sit down for just a few minutes at a time. Shift weight back and forth from one foot to the other, and take a short stroll. This will help minimize muscle soreness while increasing the flow of blood.
Other serious conditions that can cause harm to the body and risk health and fitness is typing too much. It can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, and wreak havoc on the muscles and nerves in the arms and wrists. Additionally, the eyes can be affected when the computer screen is too close. Maximize the computer screen distance by positioning it at least an arm’s length away. Make sure that the computer screen is at the same level as your eyes.
Burnout or Stress
The types of jobs where you sit in one position or stand in the same position all day tend to lead to burnout and stress. Many of the common signs of chronic stress include mental exhaustion, emotional fatigue, sleeplessness, stomach aches, headaches, colds and flu’s, along with muscular tension. Consider performing breathing exercises or meditating while walking. They can help maximize your health and fitness while alleviating stress.