Did you know that the effects of prolonged sitting are so dramatic to the body that the effects are NOT reversible, even through exercise? It’s a scary thought, considering so many of us are bound to desks and chairs that aren’t tailored to us for hours upon hours while we work, when our bodies were never meant to do so. There are several ways that we can set our bodies up for long-term success and prevent pain down the road from sitting at a desk at all!

Here are our top tips to set your body up for success throughout the workday!

#1) Adjust Your Work Station

Have you ever considered an adjustable desk? A sit-stand desk is an amazing alternative to traditional stagnant desks as it allows you to change position more often (alternate from standing to sitting regularly). Standing desks have become very affordable with either an entire desk or an addition that you can place on top of your existing desk. Using an anti-fatigue mat when standing can help relieve back pain. 

Tip: Standing up also increases productivity, as well as works core muscles, burns more calories, improves posture, and ramps up metabolism.

In addition to a sit-stand desk, a proper chair is an absolute must! It’s important to remember, not all office chairs are created equal! Just because a chair looks sleek and modern and is “certified ergonomic” doesn’t mean it’s the best option for your personal wellness situation. View our blog on how to select the best chair!

#2) Mind Your Posture

After you’ve set up your workspace, it’s important to be conscious of your posture throughout the day. Here are some helpful guidelines to remember:

  • When sitting, your knees should be at a 90-degree angle, with thighs parallel to the floor and lower legs perpendicular;
  • Ensure that your feet are resting flat on the floor or have support from a foot rest
  • Your arms should be at a 90-degree angle parallel to the floor, if your armrest is too high or too low your shoulders will feel strained.
  • Your neck should be in a neutral position or 15-degrees downward.

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Tip: if your neck is not in a neutral position and you’re looking down too much or up too high, consider investing in an adjustable laptop or desktop stand

#3) Movement Breaks

Experts say that sitting is the new smoking, because of the correlation between spending hours sitting at a desk and risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. 

To avoid chronic pain and illnesses down the road, it is critical that you move your body throughout the day!

Helpful tips for moving:

  • Break up your day into time blocks and move for at least 10-20 minutes in between each block
  • Make a habit of turning your lunch hour into an exercise hour! Does your office have a gym or yoga studio that you can access for an hour? This is a great way to get your exercise in during your workday and spend more time at home in your free hours
  • Take walking meetings! Instead of meeting in a conference room or on zoom, consider taking the meeting over a phone call and walking! Walking meetings are an amazing way to feel productive while doing something great for your body!
  • Fill your water more often- Is your water fountain far from your desk? Drink water more often to both stay hydrated and have a reason to get up from your desk more frequently!

#4) Stretching At Your Desk

There are some incredible neck and back stretches that do not require you to leave your desk! If you start to feel tension, here is a stretch that you can do:

Neck Extensions

  • Preferably in a standing position, roll your shoulders back then clasp your hands behind your back 
  • Gently extend your head back (looking toward the ceiling) 
  • Hold for 30 seconds

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For other examples of stretches that you can do from your desk, visit our blog, 3 Simple Neck Stretches to Help Relieve Neck Pain!

#5) Invest In Helpful Health Tools 

There are several tools you can buy for your office to help set your body up for success throughout the day! A few of our favourite tools include:

  • Step Tracker—Give yourself a daily step goal to motivate you to get up and move throughout the workday! Take it one step further and get your colleagues involved. This is a great way to stay motivated, especially if there are prizes included!
  • Active SittingUse sitting tools to help engage your core as you sit. Both exercise ball chairs and wobbly stools are excellent ways to make your sitting active. 
  • Under Desk Elliptical or Bike—Did you know you can work out right at your desk? An under-desk elliptical or bike is an amazing investment if you’re someone who likes to fidget and move! 
  • Resistance Bands—Resistance bands are another fantastic option for stretching and exercising right at your desk! With resistance bands you can perform exercises such as:
    • Shoulder presses
    • Bicep curls
    • Tricep extensions
    • Shoulder raises

#6) Get Adjusted!

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Regular spinal checkups are imperative to maintaining a healthy spine and optimally functioning nervous system, especially when you’re sitting for the better part of your day. Regular chiropractic care can also help catch problems before they become severe issues that cause chronic pain. 

Santé Chiropractic and Wellness Centre has been serving the community of east Ottawa / Orléans for over 25 years. Call or book your appointment online so we can help your body help itself!

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