How to Stay Healthy at Work
by Lucy Miller
A Fitness and Nutrition Expert
Slumped over you desk far too much? I know the feeling. Many of my clients come to me with rounded shoulders, tight hip flexors and repetitive strain in their wrists and forearms – who would have thought sitting at a desk all day could be so bad for you?
The good news is there are some pretty easy ways to fix these underlying problems and get them under control.
For instance, if you sit too much and put your hips in a constant flexed position, you need to do more stretching, which can take all of 10 minutes in the evening or at lunchtime.
The kneeling lunge, where you kneel on the floor with one leg in front of you and lean to the side of the front leg will lengthen your hip flexors and take any strain off your lower back, which is caused by too much sitting.
If you suffer from bad posture cause by slouching over your computer all day, then make sure you take regular desk breaks and get a good chair with good back support.
You also need to make sure your computer isn’t too low, which causes your neck to drop forwards and your upper body to slouch. This, over time, leads to fatigue in your neck and upper back, which results in tight chest muscles, putting strain your lower back, neck and shoulders.
Again the way to rectify this is with regular stretching, especially of the chest muscles. To do this, grab a doorframe and keep your elbow at a 90-degree angle as you lean forward. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
Too much typing is not great for your wrists (one to tell your boss!). You’re wrists are made of lots of small bones, which can fatigue easily and cause repetitive strain in the wrist and forearm. Again, take regular desk breaks throughout the day and don’t go home after a hard days grind to only go and sit on your laptop. They need a rest! You can strengthen your wrists by squeezing and releasing a tennis ball when you aren’t at your desk and also stretching your wrists off by holding out your arm with the palm facing down, then bending the fingers and palm at the wrist. Grab your fingers with the other hand and pull them back and towards the body.
Other ways to keep your office healthy is to keep drinking lots of water throughout the day, take breaks from your desk every hour or so and to keep healthy snacks in your drawer. A handful of almonds will do so much more for your concentration and blood sugar levels then a packet of Star-burst!