Better Desk Habits for a Better Back

If you work in an office today, it probably means most of your day is consumed looking at your computer responding to emails. Maybe, you get to stroll to the conference room and sit in a meeting for a few hours. You might even have to gather around that futuristic looking speaker phone for a bi-coastal conference call. But, it is likely that 90% of your day in your office is spent in a chair. I bet you’re in that chair reading this right now, aren’t you? There is wonderful chair technology and advanced ergonomics has helped keep us more comfortable as we sit at our desk. But, even the most expensive, most advanced chair can’t overcome the negative impact that sitting most of your day can have on your back. Incorporating these simple techniques can help take the strain off of your back throughout the day and help prevent pain and stress on your spine.

First, let’s talk about the danger of sitting for the bulk of your day. It has been discovered that women who sit for 11 or more hours a day saw a 12% increase in their risk of death. These risks include back and spine injury, bone deterioration, leg circulation disorders and colon cancer. Being sedentary can lead to cardiovascular disease and obesity. But, the solutions to sitting is easy. Incorporating these simple techniques can help take the strain off of your back throughout the day and help prevent pain and stress on your spine.

1. Consider a new desk
Look at switching out a traditional desk for an adjustable one that can be used both sitting and standing. The alternative to sitting all day is not standing all day, but taking breaks from sitting. An adjustable desk can give you the option to stand for a period of time to break up being in that seat for hours at a time. Ideally, you’d be able to avoid being in one position – sitting or standing – for an extended period of time.

2. Get creative with moving around
If it’s not in the budget for a new desk, make sure you are taking regular breaks to stand up and stretch those legs. Schedule a walking meeting with colleagues in your office. If you are on the phone, take it wirelessly and walk around. Make sure you are getting enough water and walk to refill your glass every hour. Maybe park a little farther away than usual. Take the stairs when you can. Just make sure that every 1-2 hours, you are giving your body a break from sitting.

3. Sit properly
We know you can’t get around sitting at a desk or in a meeting. But, when you are sitting, remind yourself of your posture to help relieve too much stress on your spine. Avoid slouching your shoulders. Try to keep you computer’s monitor at eye-level so you don’t strain your neck.

4. If you can’t stand, stretch
We know that walking around might not always be practical. If you are tied to your cubicle, you can incorporate these “deskercises” to stretch and warm up those muscles when a standing break isn’t in the cards.

In an optimal world, we have the perfect balance of sitting and standing breaks. Time to walk and stretch. Time for lunch. Just time! However, we know that if you are a desk warrior, sometimes you are bound to sitting for hours at a time. If you are able to incorporate a few of these healthy habits, your back and your body will thank you. We’re always happy to talk to you if you have questions about how you can keep your back healthy at your desk!