Magazine Contact #24
It is clear that nicotine and alcohol is poison for the body, but sitting can have just as negative an effect on our health. The problem is that office workers primarily sit for on average over nine hours a day.
The bad news is that our bodies are not built to sit for long periods. The body was built to move. Unfortunately, diverse studies also show that this does not go without having negative consequences. One example: according to a study by the Work Foundation (on behalf of the EU), almost half of the yearly sick days are caused by postural and musculoskeletal problems. Overstraining of the spine, tension, pain, and in many cases even irreparable damage.
The good news is that you can avoid all of this. The key to being healthier in the office lies in the combination of two main factors:
1. Your conduct in the office
You have to move! And believe us, there are plenty of opportunities to move around, even whilst sitting. Ideally you should do 6,000 to 10,000 steps per day. This can easily be measured with the help of pedometers (e.g. as a smartphone app).
2. Qualitative work places
The furniture—from ergonomically designed office chairs to flexible height-adjustable desks for work both sitting down and standing up—can play a big role in a healthier work place.
Tips for an active work day.
- Take the stairs instead of the lift!
- Dynamic sitting: change your sitting posture regularly!
- Use height-adjustable stand/sit work places as often as possible!
- Standing desks and standing tables also help.
- Stand or walk whilst having meetings, reading post and speaking on the phone!
- Don’t deal with all internal matters via email or phone, go over and settle it in person!
- Use breaks as movement breaks
- If possible, bike to work!
- Set your office chair and desk correctly (see the ergonomics video below).
- This is how to perfectly set your office chair and desk.
Simple exercises in the office to do from time to time, created by “health coach” Mag. Michael Mayrhofer (www.personal-fitness.at)
Position yourself with your back behind your chair. Stretch your arms behind you with your shoulders the width of your backrest apart. Make sure to keep your feet hips-length apart and lower your knees (squat). Your head and back stay upright. Stay in this position for 30 to 45 seconds, continuing to take deep breaths.
Sit upright on your office chair with your feet hips-length apart on the ground. Form a right angle with your left thigh and lower leg with your right leg stretched out. Put both your arms above your head, grab your left wrist with your right hand and lean both arms to the side of the stretched out leg. Breathe slowly and evenly, changing sides after 30 to 45 seconds. Make sure when stretching that you don’t slouch and avoid rotating your body.
Stretch one arm above your head and the other downwards. Fold back the palms of your hand as if you were pushing something up/down—this forms a tension chain, the spine must stay straight. Maintain this position once or twice for 30 to 45 seconds. Finally, release the tension, lower your arms and switch sides.