Do you sit for hours without getting up?
We all understand the benefits of a good chair which fits well, provides suitable support and is well adjusted. However, a chair, no matter how good it is does NOT make prolonged sitting safe and healthy for your back! Sitting for long periods is very bad for any back and if you have back pain or injury it is likely to increase your stiffness, discomfort or pain. Neck, hip and knees can also be affected by staying still and sitting for a long time.
Why do we sit for long periods?
It is easy to sit for too long in a sedentary workplace where all tasks can be done at a computer. There is no reason to stand! Add to that it is easy to get caught up in the work and there can be deadlines to meet. It also can be easy to work through lunch or eat at the desk. More sitting!
If all work can be done at the computer how can we remember to get up?
The answer – we need to be reminded. Our top 5 tips:
1. A simple egg timer, alarms on your phone or Fitbit. Set for 30 minute reminders.
2. The ‘bladder timer’. Regularly drink water and you’ll have nature’s reminder to get up!
3. Phone apps. Simply search ‘break reminder’. Some we’ve found are ‘Stand up’ (Iphone), ‘Break time’ or ‘Break Reminder’ (Android).
4. Outlook Calendar reminders. Set a new appointment. When the appointment pops up simply click ‘Snooze’, remind me in 30 minutes. Keep snoozing this message all day, every day!
5. Break reminder programs for the PC; free and purchased.
This is a handy article which reviews some of the free apps to remind you to take a break.
If standing/walking breaks are not possible because of work pressures consider a Sit-Stand Workstation (electric desk). This will reduce total sitting time and the length of sitting periods but allow you to continue to work.
If an electric sit-stand workstation is a bit out of budget, or just not for you, there are cheaper options – the TopDesk for instance. A small desk that sits on top of your existing workstation to elevate your monitor, keyboard or mouse – even just for writing down notes or drawing, it will get you out of your seat!