40 hours a week can take its toll on your body as well as your brain
More people than ever are completing their work from behind a desk in 2019. Whether working from home or not, most of us who run – or work for – a business spend the majority of the day sitting in front of a screen. We often think about how much this desk time tires us out in terms of our brains and we all enjoy winding down when the day’s tasks are complete. But it can also take its toll on your body, too. One three-month study examined the rates of back pain in sedentary and active workers, and found that those with desk jobs were 4 times more likely to visit a doctor for back pain. What’s more, one in four desk workers complained of multiple spine-related problems. When they become chronic, afflictions like lower back pain, neck stiffness and shoulder pain can have a detrimental effect on your motivation, positivity and productivity. With that in mind, here are 5 simple ways to improve your spinal health and your working life as a whole.
Do small stretches throughout the day
A big part of the reason back pain affects people with desk jobs is that we simply don’t move enough throughout the day. This causes our muscles and joints to become lazy, particularly in the lower back where they spend much of the day contracted rather than stretched out. Try to engage in a few sneaky desk stretches throughout the day. This might include stretching your arms above your head until you feel a pull on your spine. It could also involve pushing your chair back and stretching out first one leg and then the other, pointing your toes out and upward.
Keep your ears in line with your shoulders
As well as being stationary for large portions of the day, the other key detrimental factor of a desk job is plain old bad posture. 8 hours is a long time to be sitting at a chair, and we inevitably end up slumping and slouching. The first step to rectifying this is taking note of our posture. Once you’re aware of your poor sitting position, you can make an effort to change it. Start by straightening your spine, keeping your ears in line with your shoulders.
Uncross your legs
Another way to improve your posture is to distribute your weight more evenly. Keeping your feet on the floor means that your lower back isn’t doing all the support work, so try to resist the temptation to cross your legs or put your feet up.
Make sure your tech is in the right place
When it comes to a desk job, it’s critical that your equipment doesn’t let you down. A supportive, comfortable chair is key, and you’ll need a monitor that sits at eye level so you aren’t constantly hunched over a low-down screen. Position your chair at the right height so your wrists aren’t constantly digging into your desk too.
Get up and move about
Finally, don’t keep yourself chained to the desk. Take regular breaks to get up and move, even if it’s just a walk to the bathroom. Use your lunch break to enjoy a stroll and a change of scenery. Not only will this benefit your spinal health, but you’ll probably find that your concentration improves too.