Fitness Tips for the Sedentary Worker
Lets face it, the sedentary lifestyle that is so common today, is an unnatural one. Even till as less than 100 years ago, people were on the go much more than today and did not spend most of the day sitting in one place. In fact studies have shown that the rise of sedentary workers is part of the problem that is causing the obesity epidemic. While a lot has been written about how being couch potatoes has made our generation unhealthy, sluggish and fat, imagine the amount of hours we spend sitting on office chairs without moving?
Many people even eat lunch in front of the computer without getting up from their desks. Research has found out that even small breaks of upto a minute or so makes a positive difference.
In America many businesses are coming to terms with the fact that it is much more beneficial to them to provide workers with healthier workplaces than pay for medical bills and that sick leave is counter-productive.
One study suggests that vertical, treadmill equipped workstations alone could allow obese workers to lose some 30 kilograms a year with just two hours of work day use. Despite the $4000+ price tag, some companies have offered them to each employee and even stock small conference rooms with them.
There are less expensive options, however. A portable pedal machine (essentially a footstool sized set of pedals) is enough to significantly add exercise for study participants (some up to 13.5 miles cycled per day). All subjects reported that they’d continue using the device if their employers offered them the option. The devices in question cost around $90-$100. Compare that to the cost of a single sick day or a month’s worth of insulin supplies.
In India however, this level of awareness does not seem to be creeping in anytime soon. Therefore knowing that the situation is so dire, it is imperative that we take it into our own hands to be active during the work day.
Here are some fitness tips for the Indian Sedentary Worker:
Stay active throughout the day – Walk and talk with a handsfree as much as possible, stand up maybe during meetings, or keep standing while working if you do not have much typing to do. Walk during your lunch break, take short breaks every half hour where you walk around for a minute and then get back to your desk. The options are there, you just have to make up your mind and do it.
Recovering from all that typing – Take a rubber band or hair scrunchie. Take the affected hand and touch all five finger tips together, forming a sort of point. Slip the band or scrunchy around all five fingers and draw them apart against the resistance of the band. It’s like a reverse squeeze. Most people are far stronger gripping than they are going the opposite direction, so it’s worthwhile. Do this casually whenever you have time – in between emails, at home while watching TV, even while driving, you can keep it up with the off hand.
Don't slump your shoulders - If you’re sitting, you may find it most comfortable for your monitor to be at or even slightly above eye level. This helps you look straight ahead without requiring downward head tilt, which often leads the rest of the upper thoracic into a slumping pattern – especially if you’re not vigilant and you’re prone to lapsing back into bad habits. This simple habit change will go a long way in ensuring reduced back, neck and shoulder aches that are so common among the cubicle crowds.
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