Is your office environment slowly killing you?

by Cody Farmer

Air Tight Construction Colorado

There you are, sitting in your sad chair in your sad office, barely moving your eyeballs and fingers. Your back aches and the midday fatigue is starting to settle in. So…it’s time to get up and move!

Just recently a Washington Post reporter interviewed four health experts who had some disturbing news to tell about what sitting for long periods of time does to us.

For starters, it’s eye-opening to think that most Americans spend an average of 10 hours a day sitting. Not only that, most of us spend that time sitting in a stuffy office with poor ventilation. Secondly, the huge list of negative side effects is very detailed, but in short consists of: organ damage, muscle degeneration, lung disorders, leg disorders, brain fog, strained neck and back, and various other spinal issues resulting from slouching.

So – what can we do about it? There are several ways to combat the negative effects of all of that lack of movement:

  1. SIT UP STRAIGHT! I’ll admit, this is not easy as it requires mindfulness. You must first be aware of your bad posture before you correct it and often we are so busy with daily tasks, our posture is on the back-burner. Experts say it takes about a month of forcing a new good behavior before it becomes a natural habit, so a good way to force this is an alarm on your phone about every hour, reminding you to sit up tall. You’ll obviously need to disable this for conference calls or meetings so that it’s not a distraction to others, but if you can make that one small change, you’ll create a new habit and your spine will thank you!
  2. NIX THE CHAIR. Your chair is probably super comfy, but it’s also slowly killing you. Replace it with an exercise ball so that you are forced to bounce occasionally. It will cause you to engage your core (to keep from falling over) and also give you some much needed movement. It’s only a little bouncing, but it makes a big difference!
  3. TAKE A WALK. Even if it’s just a few laps around your office area, a walk every 30 minutes is recommended to wake you up, help your circulation, and increase your mental alertness.
  4. GET ON ALL FOURS. I’m talking about deliberate stretches, here, people. Use cow and cat yoga positions to stretch your spine in both directions to relieve back pain.
  5. USE TOOLS. There are numerous tools on the market for exercising while you work. Hand-grippers, standing desks, portable pull-up bars, foot swings, and adjustable hand weights are all exercise items you could be using to increase daily movement.
  6. GO OUTSIDE. During breaks, if the weather permits, go outside to get some much needed fresh air and vitamin D. Even better would be taking those breaks outside PLUS making a bold move by installing (or asking your boss to install) some passive house model implementations such as a Zehnder unit. By installing this unit, you’ll be getting that fresh air (but filtered against pollution and pollen) so that you’re breathing easy all day! Your lungs and whole body will thank you!

We, at Mainstream Corporation, sincerely hope you can implement some or all of these into your daily routine. Here’s to good health!