Monday, October 10, 2011

How to stay healthy despite having a desk job

Cornelia Menichelli  /
Having a desk job in which you sit 8+ hours a day is not the healthiest way off spending your day at work. We all know that. Our ancestors most definietly didn't spend much time on sitting and even if they did, it wasn't in a completely unnatural position as we use it. The sitting position causes your hip flexors to be tight and overactive while your hip extensors are being lengthened and weakened. Your glutes and hamstrings are completely inactive over the whole time. In addition to that most of us don't sit straight with tightened back muscles. Most of us rather slump which can lead to pain in your back and shoulders. So what can we do about all that?

Some of us might have the chance to really change the situation. For those lucky ones, invest into a standing workstation or get your boss to buy you one. Problem solved. Still a lot of us robably won't be able to make that switch. Is there still anything we can do to keep us healthier? Try to incorporate as many of the following tips as possible into your daily workout and you will definitely do something good for yourself.

S. Hofschlaeger  /
1.) Use a stool/ball to sit
If you sit on a chair with backsupport, you will use it. And this will bring your body into an unnatural, unhealthy position. If you use a stool or a ball instead, you will be forced to sit upright.

2.) Control your sitting posture 
As already mentioned, slumping is even worth than sitting. Control your sitting posture from time to time and try to sit upright. Your butt has to be behind you, you need to pull your shoulder blades back and your legs should be in a 90 degree angle to the floor. 

3.) Go for a walk over lunch break
Going for a walk over your lunch break can have multiple positive effects on your body. Firstly you interrupt your sitting period with a nice walk. If you go walk outside, you'll get your daily dose of sun exposure to be able to produce enough vitamin D. And if you skipp lunch and fast, you will even give your body a break from digestion, save money and won't have eaten any crappy cafeteria food. Since I started to only eat one meal a day, I go for an hour long walk every day. It also refreshes me so that I can work much better afterwards. 

4.) Interrupt your sitting periods
If you don't want to skip lunch or even if you heve been outside for a walk already, build in breaks into your sitting period. Stretch a bit, do some squats or walk some stairs up and down. I have the habit of getting water to drink on a different floor than the one I hove my office on. Thereby I need to walk stories up and down every time I am thirsty. 

Mensi  /
5.) Excersise regularly outside of work
If you cannot go for a walk or make breaks, at least work out regularly outside of work. Hit the gym or go for a nice walk outside. Pay attention to your glutes, hamstrings and hips. Do squats and try to stretch your hips a lot. MobilityWOD has a lot of good videos about how to stretch correctly. 

6.) Don't snack
This is not directly related to sitting itself, but I got the impression that at my work all the people arround me are constantly eating. An apple here, a piece of bread there and chocolate in the evenings. It's a lot easier to snack constantly while sitting at your desk opposed to when you walk around or do physical work. Try to avoid that. At the beginning it will be akward to decline all those snacks you're offered by your collegues, but they'll get used to it. My collegues just stopped offering me stuff. =)

What changes do you apply to your work situation to be healhier?


  1. Hallo Steffi ,

    ein guter Beitrag den man den Chefs in den Betrieben vor der Nase halten sollte ,smile...
    Bewegung ist immer möglich ,wobei ich hier auch an die Leute denke die sich im Straßenverkehr aufhalten LKw -Fahrer ,Staplerfahrer etc...die auch den ganzen Tag nur sitzen und kurz mal für einen lockeren Sprint ,Liegestützen ,Kniebeugen etc..inne halte sollten um nicht auf Dauer die Wirbeln zu beschädigen!
    Mit dem Essen sehe ich es auch so wie Du ständig wird geknabbert danach auch noch was getrunken was ja gar nicht gut ist für unseren Darm -Trakt!
    Darf ich fragen was Du ist wenn Du nur 1 mal am Tag ist? Ich komme mit 2-3 Mahlzeiten aus je nach Stress bzw.Sportpensum!

  2. Seh ich ganz genauso. Ist halt nur leider nicht der Alltag.
    Ich esse eigentlich das Gleiche wie vorher auch, also viel Fleisch und Gemüse. Nur die Portion ist natürlich dementsprechend größer geworden. Ich esse also im Prinzip einfach eine doppelte Portion. Mach das jetzt seit ein paar Wochen und bisher funktioniert es super.