By now, the negative effects, on both our physical and mental wellbeing, of spending long periods of time sitting at a desk are no secret. You only have to spend a day or two at a desk job to feel it for yourself. According to The Irish Times '21 "data suggests that many of us are more inactive now than in 2019."
What can we do about it? We've got to work!
It doesn’t have to be overwhelming or unattainable. The smallest of actions can create huge changes. There are so many simple actions you can take to improve how you feel.
1. Get some fresh air
Take a stroll around your neighbourhood on your lunch break. Just twenty minutes can totally boost your mood and your energy levels. If this is not possible, try to have a fresh air source, such as an open window, in the room.
2. Achy legs
Our bodies don't like to be stuck in any one position for too long. At your desk, you may feel the blood "pool" in your feet. Take ten minutes to lie on your back with your legs up the wall, at a 90 degree angle from you. Let gravity do its thing.
3. Tingling in your fingers
Take a moment, at regular intervals throughout the day, to open out your elbows, stretch your arms out, wriggle your fingers, and rotate your wrists.
4. Eye strain
Staring at the artificial light of a computer screen, straining to read, is exhausting for our eyes. Headaches, eye redness and blurred vision are just some of the unpleasant side effects. Dr. Jeff Anshell developed The 20-20-20 Rule. The rule advises that, for every twenty minutes you spend looking at a screen, you should look at something twenty feet away for twenty seconds.
5. Stiff neck and shoulders
Hunched over a screen, our head is pulled forward and our shoulders become rounded. Our bodies are capable of great adaptation but, while no posture in particular can be labelled as "bad," it is once again the length of time we spend in this posture that becomes the issue. It's not long before we feel the strain on our necks and shoulders.
Take ten minute breaks to perform simple back-strengthening exercises that help open out your chest and draw tension away from your neck and shoulders. You can find simple video tutorials on my on-demand service.
6. Wake up your legs
In a seated position, our glutes and hamstrings are lengthened. This can lead to that sensation of your glutes "falling asleep". Take a ten minute break to perform some simple exercises that encourage the glutes and hamstrings to contract, and allow your hip flexors to lengthen and stretch open. You can find simple video tutorials on my on-demand service.