5 ways not to compromise your physical health in the office
Working in the office with a computer/laptop, air-conditioner, and an ergonomic chair is what most office workers have been doing for 8-10 hours a day, which is ⅓ of the time in a day. The fair share of time spent in the office obviously have some effect on how your body moves and grows. Take a look at your colleagues who work in the same office as you and check whether they behave the following:
- Do they sit most of the time and only stand up and walk when they are going for water / washroom / meeting room?
- The body stays in one position and the eyes stare at one small area?
- Are they tip-toeing their feet while sitting ?
- Is their body leaning forward?
- Are they resting their elbows on the table?
If they are doing either one of these bad habits, the good news is they are really paying attention to whatever they are doing, like a predator waiting for its prey and they deserve a tap on the shoulder. The bad news is, their joints, muscles, heart and the intestines will be screaming for help. Human body is designed to do many things, that is why we rule the world. But we are not designed to do these bad habits for long.
There are a ton of articles available online stating the dangers of being sedentary and this is not what this article is about. We are about to hack into these bad habits and be as healthy as possible when you cannot escape the office work.
- Our brain works better when we are standing. So, try to stand whenever you are not required to stare at the computer screen or to write on the table. A good example will be, staring at the computer screen, reading the email sent by your manager, and then stand up and digest the email. You may also walk to the whiteboard and lay out your ideas. Your brain works better this way and each second you spend on standing is beneficial to your body.
- Do not rest your elbows on the table whenever you are sitting in front of the computer. Resting elbows on the table makes your spine a bridge from the chair to the table. The key is our spine does not work like a bridge at all, it works best as a tower. Having said this, we should always maintain our spine as an upright straight tower and not an inclining bridge.
- Sit on the bone at the buttock and not the thigh or the tail bone. Put your palm in between your buttock and the chair, and feel the ischial bone as you tilt your pelvis front and back. The perfect pelvis alignment is when the ischial bone sits right on your finger.
- The perfect pelvis alignment has to be paired with a good feet placement. Make sure your chair is not too high that you have to tip toe while sitting. Place both feet firmly on the floor to ensure proper pelvis stability to avoid unnecessary muscle compensation which will lead to muscle tightness such as lower back pain.
- Do not rest your hand on your waist or the table although it is comfortable, as it will put the muscles that keep the spine upright to rest.
Try this little drill on your chair, type with your computer/laptop keyboard with and without the forearm/wrist touching the table. It is more tiring typing without the forearm/wrist resting on the table and this is when the weight of the upper body is borne by the spine muscles. You will realise that you cannot sit and type for long and you need to take a break, and taking a break from staring at the computer screen and sitting is healthy for you.
Practicing these 5 good habits for 8-10 hours in the office is as good as working out in the gym for an hour, especially when working out in the gym or the park is a luxury. Most of the health issues are caused by the sedentary office lifestyle as you can read from the internet and practising these 5 good habits works like magic to keep you as healthy as possible. If you need more guidance in practising these good habits, reach out to us and we will be happy to provide guidance. Happy working in the office!
Content contributed by doctorDB partner:
Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering in Prosthetics & Orthotics, University of Malaya
Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sport Medicine (USA)