Change Your Choices

Change Your Life…Tips for a healthier you

Get Up! Stand Up! Save your Life!

on May 23, 2011

Twenty years ago chiropractors worked on people who moved too much, today the work on people who move to little.

Your body needs to be in motion to be healthy, without movement, your muscles and ligaments don’t get a good blood supply. This applies to those who sit at a desk, or plop on the couch to watch TV or surf the web all night. (some of us do both)

Here are some ways sitting at a desk for long hours negatively affects your health:

  • Spine damage. Sitting all day can result in a pinched nerve or a herniated disc.
  • Computer eye strain. Almost 90 percent of people who use a computer for three or more hours a day have symptoms of computer eye strain. These symptoms include blurred vision, headaches, and neck aches.Wow- no wonder I am going blind, I stare at a computer at least 8 hours a day. I think vision health will be a topic this week.
  • Heart health. A desk job that keeps you sitting all day can lead to being overweight and under active. That is bad for your heart and it can decrease longevity. When you are sitting, you are not burning calories and you are not getting the aerobic exercise your heart needs.

So- what can you do to keep your body healthy even though you have a desk job? 

Practice good ergonomics. Keep your computer directly in front of you, slightly below eye level. Have your hands reach the keyboard without having to bend your wrists; have good back support; and have your weight evenly distributed. 

Maintain good posture. From behind, your back should be straight. From the side, your lower back and neck should maintain their normal curves. Twisting, slouching, or stretching and extending your back or neck can cause pain and damage.

Follow the 30/5 or 50/10 Rule.  I have an alarm on my desk that reminds me to get up every 30 minutes.  I walk around the store or the house, stretch, look out the window, anything other than sitting and staring at them computer.  I do this for 5 minutes.  If you sit for 50  minutes, move around for 10.  This doesn’t mean you are taking work breaks, I  sometimes make phone calls during my up time. 

Stretch Your Back.  Stand up, bend forward and touch your toes. If you can’t make it down to your toes, just touch your knees. Keep your knees just slightly bent.  Do a BIG inhale through your nose, feeling your ribs expand, then a big exhale out slowly through your mouth.  Do this three times.  With each exhale you can stretch a bit deeper. 

Then stand up, put your hands on the small of your back and lean back, looking toward the ceiling.  Do these stretches several times a day.

Stretch Your Neck.  Don’t roll your head around in circles.  Gently tilt to the right, inhaling and exhaling.  Then do the same for the left and middle putting your chin toward your chest, then to the back.  Continue with nice big breaths and relax. 

Loosen Your  Upper Back.  I feel a lot of tension in my upper back so I do these stretches several times a day.  Arms go straight out to the sides, thumbs up.  Inhale deeply, the exhale pressing back, pulling your shoulder blades together.  Rotate your wrists and stretch your fingers while in this position.  Bring your hands behind your back, linking  just your thumbs.  Pull down, then back giving you a BIG stretch through your chest. pulling your shoulder back.
Sit down, and lean forward, letting your chest rest on your thighs and your fingers go to the floor. Allow your shoulders to relax.  A few more breaths and you are ready to go.  Sit up, roll your shoulders forward and back. (please, leave your shirt on if at work!)

 Ahhhh…you are refreshed and ready to go. 

Just because your are stuck at a desk it doesn’t mean you are stuck sitting.  Get Up and save your life! 

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