Changing positions and posture. Individuals who have to sit at a desk, workstation, or cubicle for most of the day increase their risk of back pain, contributing to other health issues. GetAmericaStanding.org reports the average adult sits for ten hours or more a day. Prolonged sitting at home and work without movement, physical activity, exercise can lead to issues like:
- Cardiovascular problems
Long periods of inactivity are associated with increased mortality as sedentariness causes the same damage related to smoking and obesity. It can be challenging to find ways to remain active while sitting at work; this is where changing positions and posture, also known as dynamic sitting throughout the day, can help.
Changing Positions and Posture Throughout the Day
Constantly sitting in a chair means the body remains static, causing blood and energy circulation to slow down, stressing the body’s muscles. Changing the body’s positions regularly along with short periods of activity like standing up, walking around while on the phone, and stretching helps to work out the muscles and keep circulation at optimal levels.
The Importance of Changing Positions and Posture
The body was meant to move and requires movement to stay healthy.
Staying in one position for too long can lead to loss of core strength from the abdominal musculature becoming deconditioned. Muscle deconditioning leads to weakness and tightness. The imbalance affects the spinal support system leading to back, hip, and leg pain. Moving around and doing quick mini-workouts can help strengthen the body, increase core strength, improve posture, burn calories and prevent pain and injury.
According to a 2018 study, researchers found improvements in cardiometabolic health among individuals that would stand up, sit less, and move more. Ways to adjust the work or home office to make changing positions and posture easier include.
- Sit-stand desks can be raised and lowered throughout the day to change position regularly.
- Treadmill desks are actual treadmills that are fitted with a desk so individuals can work and walk simultaneously.
- A smaller, less expensive option could be under-the-desk bike peddlers.
- Have resistance bands or small weights at the desk to perform exercises throughout the day.
- Ergonomic chairs
- Kneeling chairs
- Leaning stools
- Balance balls
- Wobble chairs
- Saddle chairs
These small changes and adjustments can make a big difference when experiencing body pain from too much sedentariness. However, it is crucial to know if other issues are causing the health problem/s. If back or any pain is associated with any of the following, consult a medical professional.
- Trauma from an accident or injury.
- Balance issues.
- Weakness in the legs.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Overflow urinary incontinence is when the bladder fills up and empties without feeling the need to urinate.
- Severe constipation.
How to Read Blood Pressure Measurements
An individual’s blood pressure includes:
Systolic Blood Pressure
- This is the first or top number listed on a blood pressure reading and is the measurement of the pressure that the blood exerts against the walls of the arteries.
- A normal systolic reading should be less than 120 mm Hg.
Diastolic Blood Pressure
- This is the second number that measures the force of the blood against the artery walls when the heart is resting between beats.
- A normal diastolic reading is less than 80 mm Hg.
- The pulse is the number of beats per minute the heart is beating.
- A normal adult pulse is between 60 to 100 beats per minute.
When checking blood pressure, a doctor will read out a vital sign in the normal range of 120/80 mmHg or below. Anything above that could be an indication of an underlying health condition.
“Ergonomics for Prolonged Sitting.” The University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA. https://www.uclahealth.org/spinecenter/ergonomics-prolonged-sitting
“Workplace sitting is associated with self-reported general health and back/neck pain: a cross-sectional analysis in 44,978 employees.” BMC Public Health, London, UK. May 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33957889/
“Active Sitting Guide: 6 Reasons To Really Consider It.” The Ergonomics Health Association. (n.d.) https://ergonomicshealth.com/active-sitting-guide/
“Cardiometabolic Impact of Changing Sitting, Standing, and Stepping in the Workplace.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Indianapolis, IN. March 2018. https://oce.ovid.com/article/00005768-201803000-00015/HTML
“Reducing occupational sitting time and improving worker health: the Take-a-Stand Project, 2011.” Preventing Chronic Disease, Atlanta, GA. 2012.
“Office exercise: Add more activity to your day.” The Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. October 2019. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/office-exercise/art-20047394
“The Tools: Put an End to Your Sedentary Lifestyle.” Ergotron, St. Paul, MN. (n.d.). https://www.juststand.org/the-tools/
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