Many of us spend a minimum of eight hours a day sitting at office desks—and then may spend even more time sitting at home after escaping the workplace! This constant position can impose numerous different health issues on employees and even heighten many health risks as one gets older. This includes everything from pressure on the spine, shallow breathing, weight gain, and extra emotional stress to muscle loss, arthritis, eye strain, and persistent pain in a variety of areas.
Why does all this happen just when we sit too often, too long? Much of it is through muscle imbalance. The slumped posture many of us adopt when at a desk for long hours overworks some muscle groups while letting others are weakened or overstretched. For instance, the psaos muscle can tighten, making raising the legs difficult, while abdominal and pelvic muscles weaken, leading to a softer core. At the same time, neck muscles shorten and tighten, causing headaches—further disrupting focus and productivity.
One simple Pilates tool and technique that can start to help counteract some of this is swapping out your desk chair for a fitness ball. This tend to eliminate most slouching and restores natural curvature to the spine while giving core muscle groups subtle workouts. Plus, you can incorporate small, quick Pilates moves using the ball without ever having to leave your cubicle or office!
Also, try soft, gentle stretching throughout the day to ease any aches or pains that might’ve built up due to sitting in one position for a while. And don’t forget that you’re enhancing your awareness of how your body is feeling, making it likelier that you’ll detect growing discomfort and adapt a healthier posture before it becomes overworked and turns into chronic pain.
A few other office health tips: