Sitting too much is simply hard on the body. Excessive sedentary behavior—common and seemingly “unavoidable” if you have a desk job—can increase the risk for back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and other types of work-related musculoskeletal injuries.
How much time do you spend in a chair or on a couch? Did you realize that sitting for 6-8 hours per day—or watching 3-4 hours of television—has been shown to increase the risk of chronic illness and early death? It’s stunning research, especially considering that the average American sits as much as 12 hours per day!
It isn’t always easy to stay active, especially if you’re working a desk job. However, getting active can vastly improve your health, your comfort, your mobility, and your overall quality of life.
At our physical therapy clinic, it’s our mission to help people move better and feel better—and minimizing chair time is a huge part of this.
There are several easy ways to increase your activity level that most people can include in their daily routine.
Talk to our physical therapist staff if you’d like to set up an appointment and get going on a treatment plan that will help you start feeling (and standing) better than ever. In the meantime, check out these tips for increasing your physical activity during your workday.
Many companies now offer sit-to-stand desks because they’ve seen the research: employees who get to stand more may experience increased job satisfaction, alertness, and productivity—while also reducing their risk for the physical effects of “sitting disease.”
Even if you can’t get an adjustable desk for your office, it may be possible to make your own DIY version with some sturdy boxes and other materials. Get creative…and don’t hesitate to ask your supervisor or office manager about investing in adjustable desks or attachments.
Wear a pedometer to track your steps and motivate you to get up and move around the office more often.
Also, consider setting a timer to go off once per hour to alert you when it’s time to take a break from sitting and get out of your chair.
Physical activity may not be able to offset all the negative effects of sitting too much, but it may help some.
Meeting the American Heart Association’s minimum recommendation of 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise is important, but those “non-exercise” activities add up, too.
So: park farther away from the office, take the stairs, and if necessary, talk to a physical therapist about custom orthotics and other strategies to make the activity more comfortable.
Drinking at least one-third to one half your body weight in fluid ounces per day can keep your body properly hydrated.
It’ll also force you to get out of your chair more because you’ll find yourself needing to relieve yourself more often!
Keep a stainless steel or glass water bottle handle, drink regularly, and thank your body for the frequent signals that are sending you to the bathroom.
Instead of holding your meeting or phone calls while sitting in a boardroom, see if it’s possible to take that appointment on the move and talk while you walk.
Bonus: walking has been shown to boost creativity and problem-solving!
If you’re suffering from symptoms of an inactive lifestyle, physical therapy can help. A physical therapist can help you by providing manual therapies that can increase your flexibility and improve your range of motion. An experienced therapist can also give you simple exercises you can do at home.
A physical therapy program can be created that addresses your individual needs. It’s important to stay as active as possible to keep your muscles, tendons, and joints flexible and moving without pain and stiffness. You’ll want to add some type of exercise to your daily routine to keep moving.
You can pursue any or all of these aforementioned activities at your leisure, or you can ask our physical therapist about integrating them into a full-scale physical therapy program. The latter approach could prove especially wise if you’re rehabilitating an injury, unsure of your exercise tolerance, or battling a particular chronic pain issue.
Our physical therapist can evaluate your health and prescribe the right activities for your needs and goals.
At the same time, you may be able to enhance the benefits of your activities with other safe, helpful modalities such as massage, ultrasound therapy, dry needling, cold and heat treatments, acupuncture, or laser therapy.
These therapies can promote tissue repair, ease inflammation, reduce pain, and increase your ability to keep moving and having a great time.
The bottom line: sitting for too long just isn’t good for your body or your lifespan.
Our physical therapy staff can help you manage an injury or condition that has limited your standing tolerance, and get you on your feet with greater confidence. Call us today to schedule an appointment!