Office worker getting exercise and gaining ergonomic benefits

Moving more while working from home

Media headlines, in recent years, have depicted this notion that sitting is akin to smoking and can be considered a disease. Many of us spend our 40-ish hour work week lumped in an office chair, tucked away behind our keyboard and monitor. Now, in a global pandemic, many of us are working from home, with virtual meetings and calls keeping us tied to our devices more than ever.

Our bodies were designed to move, not remain seated in a static, unchanging posture. Sitting for prolonged periods results in reduced muscle activation and caloric expenditure, decreased blood flow, and can negatively affect digestive and metabolic systems. We also need to keep in mind that standing all day can also have negative affects including: lower back, hip, knee, and/or foot discomfort, blood flow and circulation issues, as well as potential lower limb swelling.

What is an office worker to do?

Rather than one posture or the other, research suggests alternating between sitting and standing as too much of either can create strain on the body. So, look around your home office and consider what you can do to stand and move more. Try some of the following:

  • Alternate between sitting and standing (can you move your laptop to other areas in your house to achieve this?)
  • Take your breaks away from your desk (e.g. go for a walk at lunch) … and on that note in general, TAKE YOUR BREAKS!
  • Drink plenty of water (i.e. need to refill, need to use restroom)
  • Stand during phone calls. Or, walk/pace if you have a headset or speakerphone option.
  • Try out some stretches at your desk for your neck, wrists, shoulders, legs: get those muscles moving!Use the rocking (i.e. seat pan tilt) function on your chair (ideally, when on the phone or reading documents, as opposed to when typing)
  • Move your printer further from your computer so you have to stand up/walk to access it

Ideally, aim to be in a non-seated posture for 5 minutes of every hour to minimize the negative effects of prolonged static sitting. So stretch, move, and be healthy!

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