If you’re reading this post, there’s a strong chance that you work in an office. Maybe you’re reading this on your lunch break, or while the boss is busy with something else.
The amount of physical work that humans do is greatly decreasing, as everyone moves into cities, and more and more people go straight from university into an office based job. We’re seeing a time of great technological advancement, but that also means that the average office worker is spending more than six hours sitting down every day- something that can lead to heart disease, obesity, cancer, and a shorter lifespan. Ouch.
Did you know that office workers should be exercising for an hour every day if they want to avoid an early death? While very few of us can say we hit the gym for an hour each day, it turns out that those small bursts of movement achieved while working (to and from your car, climbing stairs, and even stretching at your desk) can actually reverse the damage you do from being sedentary.
Many people in the UK sit at proper office chairs, but as the years go on they start to feel their body isn’t quite as loose and limber as it used to be. Time spent staring at a screen, hunched over and typing can give you back pain, neck pain, tightness across your shoulders as well as other troubles.
In the UK alone, 160,000 hip replacements are performed each year, 70% of sciatica cases are from tightness in the hamstrings and back, 28% of the back pain that’s reported is for the lower back, and 25% of people who have back pain actually have herniated disks which can be caused by the kind of bad posture that many workers have as they sit at their desks.
To combat this, Furniture at Work has recently begun a social media campaign, which tells office workers about the impacts that sitting all day has on our health, and also has some excellent stretches that you can do at your desk.
Their stunning infographic explains that yoga has been used for 5,000 years, and it’s great for combatting the type of injuries that we get from sitting at our desks all day.
The first stretch is the Chair Cat Cow Stretch, which helps improve your balance and posture, stretches and strengthens the neck and spine, reduces pain in your lower back, and gets some much-needed oxygen into your lungs. Here’s how to do it:
“Sit on a chair and make sure your spine is stretched and you have both of your feet on the floor (flat). Inhale while arching your back, before looking up, pushing your shoulders forward and belly backwards (cow position). Next, you’ll go into cat position, so exhale while rounding your spine and bringing your shoulders forward and look down- cat position. Keep moving between cat and cow and exhale for five breaths in each position.”
This is just one of the five great #officeyoga positions, so check out the infographic below and give them a go next time you’re sitting at your desk. Hopefully your posture, aches and pains will improve, and, who knows, it might even extend your life expectancy!