"I've just started a new job where I find myself sitting for most of the day, whether it be at my desk, in meetings or even having lunch. I've already started to get a bit of pain in my back and I feel like the circulation in my legs is quite poor. I just wanted to know how bad is it to sit for long periods each day?" — Kate
Keep reading. . .
We know how difficult it can be. A lot of office jobs do require you to sit down for most of the day, but being seated for long periods of time can actually be very bad for your health. Research suggests that anyone who sits for longer than four hours a day is at greater risk of developing chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. And because you're being physically inactive for so long, there's a possibility your weight could increase, as well as having higher levels of cholesterol, blood sugar and triglycerides (bad fats).
But that's not all. Like you said, you're probably already starting to notice some of the more immediate symptoms of sitting down all day, which can appear in the form of aches and pains, poor circulation, varicose veins, and even sight issues — doesn't feel too great, does it? If you're finding it difficult to get up and move during the day, here's a few tips that might help:
- Force yourself to go for a walk, or do some exercise in your lunch time. Or at the very least, try standing while you're on the phone or eating.
- Take the stairs instead of the lift when possible, and get up every 20 minutes to do a quick lap around the office.
- If you're sitting at your desk, try these three simple exercises to do while you sit.
- Try not to snack at your desk all day, but if you're in need of a little pick-me-up, keep some healthy foods like nuts in your desk drawer.
- Drink plenty of water daily to help hydrate cells, aid digestion and boost your circulation.
- Make sure your chair, desk and computer screen are ergonomically fitted to suit you.
- To help improve your circulation and prevent nasty varicose veins, you can get yourself a foot stool to raise your feet slightly, which will help with the flow of circulation in your legs. Also, every 20 minutes move your feet up and down in a pumping motion for at least 20 seconds on each foot. Wearing thick stockings or tights might also help to boost circulation and offer relief to aching legs.
- To prevent sore or strained eyes, make sure you're blinking more frequently and every 20 minutes look away from the screen and stare about five metres in front of you for 20 seconds.
Hope this has helped Kate! — Steph, POPSUGAR Australia health and beauty journalist
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