While cushy desk jobs may seem safer than construction work, they still pose risks to your health. Sitting all day is bad for the body on many levels. Lauren Hart of Dragonfly Athletics has graciously created a workout to help our readers stay in motion and out of pain, all without leaving our desks!
Your Desk Job May be Affecting Your Health
The American workforce has changed rapidly over the past 50 years. Manual labor jobs have decreased, while desk jobs—especially those requiring long hours of computer use—have steadily increased. A great number of Americans spend their days seated at a desk for hours at a time, with their only form of exercise coming from their fingers dancing on a keyboard. They mindlessly munch on whatever snacks are within reach, and keep the joints locked in flexed positions that give the appearance of Smeagol with that fish at the forbidden pool.
So what’s the problem?
- Over 67% of Americans are either overweight or obese.
- In 2016, an estimated 29 million Americans had diabetes, and 95% of those were Type II diabetics.
- More than half of American adults have high cholesterol or are taking medications for it.
- More than 3 million new arthritis cases are diagnosed each year.
All of these diseases and health factors are caused in part by improper nutrition, but they are massively affected by lack of physical activity. These issues cost employers millions of dollars in both healthcare and lost work hours each year.
If you are locked at your desk all day long with minimal movement, you are putting yourself at risk for a number of diseases and are slowly becoming a liability for your employer. The best way to lower your disease risk is to get moving!
Start Small with Your Exercise Routine
I’m not at all saying you have to jump right into the most intense exercise program you can find. Instead, start small. Every tiny bit of activity you accrue counts.
Set a timer that goes off every 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, stand up for one minute. Move around, wiggle out your legs—whatever. Once this practice becomes a habit, increase to two minutes, then three. Try to work up to ten minutes of standing for every twenty minutes of sitting. Your body and your boss will thank you for it.
Check out my easy-to-follow video demonstration of five stretches you can do from your desk to alleviate pain and stiffness:
1. Wrist Stretch
Pull your fingers and palm closer to the top of your forearm, and then pull toward the bottom of your forearm (flex and extend the wrist). Hold for 20 seconds each.
2. Scalene Stretch
Tilt your head toward one shoulder, shrug the opposite shoulder up toward your ear, then slowly lower that shoulder down, keeping your head tilted. Perform 5 times on each side.
3. Chest Stretch
Anchor your hand palm facing down on your desk, and rotate your chest away from your arm. Hold for 30 seconds.
4. Psoas Stretch
Stand with your feet staggered, one leg in front, the other a few feet behind. Place the hand that is on the same side as your front leg into the soft spot between the bottom of your rib cage and the top of your pelvis (the side of your waist). Reach with the opposite arm overhead and lean in the direction of the front leg side. Hold for 1 minute and repeat on the other side.
5. QL Stretch
Anchor your hands on your desk with your feet staggered so they are parallel to your desk. The foot to the rear should be the same as the side farthest away from your desk. Press your hips away from your desk and turn your torso toward the ground. Hold for 45 seconds each side.