Humans were not designed for prolonged sitting. Here’s what to do about it.
Do us a favor and stare at your foot. It’s admittedly a little weird to just at an appendage like that. But let’s be real for a second: It’s a borderline miraculous tool. Packed inside are 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. It’s a mechanical structure that allows you to balance, walk and run. It also let you do the Harlem Shake that one time. Worst fad ever.
In a nutshell, the human foot puts modern engineering to shame. And for many humans, a majority of their time is spent making sure they stay off their feet as much as possible.
The Evolution of Work
Society—and the way humans work—evolves fast. Know what doesn’t evolve as fast? That body of yours.
Back in the day (we’re talking way, way back in the day), standing meant survival. Sitting for too long meant death. But today, we can survive and thrive by kicking our feet up all day.
Chances are, you sat through a decade or two of school. You currently earn your living by sitting and staring at a backlit screen. You’re reading this article while sitting. And tonight, you’ll go home and unwind by finding that perfectly broken-in spot on the couch and consuming some well-earned entertainment. Wine glass in hand, feet on the ottoman.
As you sit, day after day and night after night, there’s a whisper in the back of your head. It’s almost audible if you listen close enough: “I was not designed for this.”
You are correct.
Variety is the Secret Sauce
If you’ve tried a standing desk before to combat that comfortable and deadly desk chair, you probably noticed something disheartening: Standing all day doesn’t feel great, either. It’s downright uncomfortable.
The key, as our headline already gave away, is variety. Varying positions throughout the day is what your body yearns for.
You can learn all about the LeanRite sit-stand chair here. It’s an incredible work companion that helps you find a healthier 9-to-5 lifestyle and eases back pain risks.
But for the remainder of this article, we want to brainstorm some new habits you can form to enjoy a healthier workday. Each idea is a small thing, but when added up, the result is a happier and healthier you.
Movement-Based Work Habits You Can Start Today
1. One walk per hour. For every 55 minutes of work, take 5 minutes to put those feet of yours to good use. Head to the restroom, refill your water bottle and make sure to take the long way.
2. Body weight exercises. Okay, so being known as the person who does random push-ups/squats/toe raises at work isn’t ideal. Counterpoint: Your colleagues may see the example you set and form the habit themselves. Or at the very least, they’ll fear you more. That’s a win.
3. Stretch breaks. Stretching prevents injury, maintains flexibility and provides a satisfying energy boost. Every human on earth needs to do more of it.
4. Implement new health-based programs at work. Companies are more focused than ever on employee health and satisfaction. Most healthy office cultures are more than willing to launch a weekly yoga class or contribute to your health club costs if they aren’t already.
Remember the Secret: Variety!
Always mix it up. Sit at your desk at certain points, stand at others and do a forward/backward lean as well.
It may seem like you have to stay in one fixed position to do your job. You don’t. If you vary your position and take frequent breaks to give your body a tune-up, you will return to your computer refreshed and more productive.
Do you have a healthy work habit we didn’t mention? Feel free to share it! We’d love to hear what works for you.