The majority of millennials today lead a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting at a desk for long hours is no more exclusive to just office-goers. With the world getting online for studying, playing, and relaxing, there is hardly anyone who isn’t a victim of sticking to his seat for hours at stretch.
Today, for many of us life is all about sitting at our desks for 7-8 hours daily for 5 days a week and 52-weeks a year. And with multiple studies proving a 40% decreased lifespan for those sitting all day, it’s time to act now to get back to our healthy selves. Otherwise, in no time we all might be facing one or a few of the many health issues faced by a big number of people because of a lack of physical activities.
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Problems Faced by Sitting in the Chair for Long Hours
Researches have shown that around 2 million people die every year due to a lack of physical activity. And the majority of such inactivity is due to adherence to a sedentary lifestyle.
Then there are other major health issues too, that ultimately leads to poor life quality. Let’s know the major health issues and some simple ways to prevent their onset.
Tension Neck Syndrome (TNS)
This occurs when our upper shoulders and neck stay in an awkward position for long periods. It is very common for people working for long hours on computers and phone operations.
The best way to address it is to use a headset or speakerphone while speaking on the phone. And if you happen to type a lot on your system daily, use a shoulder cradle to offer healthy support to the neck and shoulders. This will prevent muscle tenderness and pain.
Eyestrain is the most common issue for those looking at the computer for extended hours. It can lead to difficulty in focusing, headaches, redness in eyes, and enhanced sensitivity to light.
To address the issue, maintain an arms’ distance between the screen and your eyes. Also, increase the font size for easy readability.
Lack of inactivity induces many health issues that ultimately lead to poor heart health, therefore, increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Such health issues include reduced levels of good cholesterol levels in the body, increased levels of bad cholesterol levels, increased blood pressure, reduced blood circulation, fat accumulation, et al.
The best way to address this issue is to add a little activity to your routine. Just a 20-minute brisk walk would go a long way.
Studies have established a direct link between sedentary behavior and enhanced risk for cancer; colon, breast, and endometrial (Ref 1). This can be attributed to fat accumulation due to a lack of physical inactivity leading to a certain type of cancerous tumor formation in the body. This is also known as carcinogenesis.
To prevent the onset of cancer, take short breaks of 10-minutes and walk around your cubicle briskly and get back to work again. A brisk walk is another good alternative.
Sedentary behavior and Type 2 diabetes have been directly linked in a study (Ref 2). It has been established that people who watch TV for 2 hours carry 20% more risk of contracting Type 2 Diabetes. It is imperative to take action to prevent Type 2 Diabetes as it can lead to further health complications like heart-stroke, eye disease, lung disease, just to name a few.
The best way to avoid it is by taking a small walk after every few minutes to the kitchen during those shows. Additionally, do not forget a brisk walk of 20-minutes in a typical day.
Sitting for long hours has been linked to psychological stress and anxiety. Working on a screen for hours at a stretch has also been found to cause depression.
The best way to prevent mental health disorders is to incorporate a little exercise into your routine. Physical activity releases ‘endorphins’, the chemicals responsible for uplifting your mood. It also releases ‘dopamine’ that is responsible for making us feel good.
Neck & Back Pain
Pain in the lower pain is one of the common complaints of those practicing sedentary behavior. Working for long hours with your neck and back kept in almost the same position all the time leads to neck and back pain.
The best way to prevent muscle tenderness in the back and neck is to interrupt the work every half an hour or so.
How To Stay Fit On Your Desk
Staying fit in a sedentary lifestyle is not very difficult. All you need is to incorporate a few healthy habits and swap them with the unhealthy ones. Here are few of the easiest ways that anyone practicing a sedentary lifestyle can do to make his health better:
Wear Ortho Footwear
This is certainly the easiest way to stay fit. Just wearing footwear that has been specifically designed to relieve your feet of the numbness and stiffness arising from sedentary behavior is the least you can do. Such footwear is specifically designed to enhance blood circulation and lessen pain due to stiffness.
Orthofeet Women Sneakers
These orthopedic sneakers are specifically meant for women to help them relieve pain and stiffness in the feet. They work wonders not only for feet but numerous other problems like neuropathic, diabetic, and arthritis.
Orthofeet Men Sneakers
These orthopedic sneakers from Orthofeet are perfect for men and help to relieve foot pain. They also work well with other problems like neuropathic, diabetic, and arthritis.
Get On Your Feet Every Hour
Studies have proved that getting on your feet every half an hour or an hour, improves blood circulation to the whole body (Ref 3). This can further prevent plaque buildup in the arteries affecting normal heart functioning. Walk downstairs to your office main gate or take a walk to the loo to break the monotony of the slow blood circulation.
Exercise In Break-Time
This is what most of the practitioners of a sedentary lifestyle are doing. Using break intervals for an easy yet effective exercise doesn’t make you feel the burden of taking out a special time for working out. Take fast steps to reach the loo or cafe in the break.
Do the same while coming back to your cubicle. Start walking briskly while you make that private phone call during the break. Go downstairs and then upstairs a single time just to speed up the blood circulation that might have become obstructed with staying put in one place.
Swap Your Chair For a Stability Ball
With many offices actively encouraging their employees to take care of their health, it is becoming more common among the office-goers to use a stability ball as their chair at times.
The greatest advantage of all is that it helps align your body well by improving the posture as you keep balancing your body perfectly throughout. Don’t forget to choose the one with anti-burst safety measures
Trideer Exercise Ball
This one is a heavy-duty stability ball, perfect both for yoga as well as other exercises. The anti-burst formula makes it safe and the 12-months warranty, safer.
Use a Standing Desk When Possible
Companies these days have started adding standing desks in their work areas to keep their workforce healthy. Opt for a standing desk when the nature of work allows. Standing strengthens core, correct posture, and keeps you energized throughout the day by maintaining optimum blood circulation.
A sedentary lifestyle is infamous for instilling unhealthy eating habits. Now is the time to consciously get rid of them all. The best way is to swap your unhealthy canteen snacks with healthy ones to add to your health than worsening it. Such snacks not only kill hunger pangs but keep you full for longer.
Smartfood Popcorn Pack
This air-popped popcorn pack of 40 small packs of 0.5 ounces each from Smartfood is one healthy munching option to kill those hunger pangs. The varied tastes like Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn or White Cheddar popcorn keep your taste buds excited.
Protein has been linked to keeping you full for long along with adding goddess to your health. Adding protein-rich snacks or meal replacements is yet another good way of staying healthy in a sedentary lifestyle.
Carry a pack of healthy dry fruits as they are full of nutrients and are healthy to munch on. Or a meal replacement pack to avoid having lunch at the canteen when you could pack it in the morning.
Power Up High Energy Nuts
This 14 oz nut pack from Power Up is a healthy mix of high-energy vegan, Keto, non-GMO, gluten-free, and Paleo nuts. It has no added preservatives and hence, is an extremely good way to fill you up during sudden hunger pangs.
Garden of Life Meal Replacement Powder
This plant-based meal replacement powder from Garden of Life has 28 servings, each filled with 44 superfoods including fruits and vegetables.
Swap Caffeine With Green Tea
However love we have for caffeine, we all know it interrupts our mental health by causing anxiety and heart health by increasing heart rate. So, it’s time to swap the unhealthy caffeine with healthy green tea. Green tea is full of antioxidants and is proven to maintain optimum blood circulation.
Jade Leaf Matcha Green Tea
This 1oz pack of matcha green tea has been sourced authentically from Japanese farms known for best organic teas.
Walk As Much As You Can
Walking briskly around the office when needed to move from one place to another is one of the best ways to stay fit without taking any extra time and effort from your routine (Ref 4). It not only regulates blood circulation but also de-stresses the mind. You can also track your heart activity to know your daily results for getting motivated. Use a fitness tracker to track your steps and the progress thereon.
Fitpolo Fitness Tracker
This fitness tracker from Fitpolo tracks your heart rate, calories burned, sports need, steps, et al. You can very well know the level of your physical activity and fill the gap accordingly.
Stretching at your desk every half an hour or an hour can help reduce stiffness in the muscles, reduce fatigue, muscle pain, and enhance blood circulation. Many easy-to-do stretching exercises can be easily done on the desk. Try one or a few of the following:
Start with leaning your head forward and then roll it in a circular motion on the left side for 10 seconds. Do the same for the right side. Try 2-3 repetitions for it.
Stretch right arm and raise it. Bend it to touch the opposite shoulder blade with your right hand. If you can’t touch in the beginning, do not push. Your muscles are stiff. Just try to be as close as possible. Hold it there for 10 seconds. Repeat the process with the other arm.
Raise both your shoulders upwards to the ears and then roll them back. Drop them back to their original position and raise and roll them forward. Repeat 3 times.
Upper Back Stretch
Pull your arms straight in front of you with palms facing the ground. Lower your head to be in line with them. Round your back while looking downwards. Hold it for seconds and release. Repeat 2-3 times.
Wrists and Fingers Stretch
Almost all of those practicing a sedentary lifestyle have to do a lot of typing and texting. This strains the fingers and wrists. To relax them, place both your hands on the desk, palms facing downwards, fingertips facing you. Lean forward for an intensified stretch. Hold there for a few seconds and release. Repeat 2-3 times.
Clasp both your hands together above the head with palms facing the ceiling. Noe, push your arms upwards and stretch. Hold there for a few seconds and release. Repeat 2-3 times.
Q. How to lose belly fat while sitting at a desk?
A. When you spend long hours working at a desk, you might not get enough time to perform an exercise for losing belly fat. So, here are two simple exercises you can do while sitting at your desk:
Lower-Abs Leg Lifts
In this exercise, you need to place your feet flat on the ground while sitting straight up. Then, while keeping your core tight, lift your one leg so that your lower abs are at work. Do 20 repetitions for both the legs alternatively. With time and practice, you can start lifting both legs together for making this exercise more challenging for your lower abs.
This one is for those of you who have a swivel chair in their office. For oblique twists, hover your feet above the ground while sitting upright. Then, swivel your chair to your extreme left while holding the edge of your desk tightly with your hands. Shift your position to your extreme right to engage all of your oblique muscles. Perform 15 repetitions on both sides alternatively.
Q. What is the easiest way to lose weight at the desk?
Swapping your unhealthy snacks with healthy ones is the easiest way to naturally lose weight at the desk. Being busy, we tend to make the wrong choices that negatively impact our overall health. Just a shift in your eating habits will do wonders for both your health and weight.
With just a few tweaks in your sedentary lifestyle, you can easily take care of your health. Never ignore your health while amassing wealth for the future as a compromise with your health. This can disturb your daily routine as well as your whole life.