I will add to that infographic that sitting makes you rigid and inflexible. Hamstrings and hip flexors are flexed all day, which makes the muscles tight and prone to injury.
Months ago, I asked my employer for a standing workstation. Hilariously, their policy is that only people with certified medical issues can have them – you have to sit all day until you have a serious health problem, then you get the preventative measure that could have actually helped. And my friends wonder why I want to escape my supposedly awesome job. One day… but until then, I’ve implemented three makeshift solutions:
1) Kneeling on a rolled up towel in front of my desk instead of sitting,
2) Precariously balancing my keyboard, mouse and monitor on a big cardboard box, and
3) Finding as many excuses as possible to walk around throughout the day.
Alas, I still sit 4-8 hours/day (a typical American desk jockey/commuter/TV addict probably spends 15) so here are the exercises I use to stay mobile:
1) The Couch Stretch
2) Stability Ball Back Bend
3) Foam Rolling
See Mark’s post on thoracic spine mobility for some examples of foam rolling exercises. Also related to this subject check out his posts on Sitting and Hip Mobility. (Most of my health-related posts tend to boil down to “Read MDA” in case you haven’t noticed.)
4) Myofascial release massages
Google to find a supplier near you. Or just do as I did and insist that a girlfriend teach herself via youtube.
5) Sleep flat
I usually sleep sans pillow, and I’ve found it results in a great sleep and a loose neck in the morning. I would also like to experiment with sleeping on a harder surface, ie a carpet or a thin mat. Several weekends ago, I slept on a floor for three nights in a row and felt great after, minus the hangover that usually follows the sort of three-day weekend where you sleep on a floor every night.
So fellow office space cast members: Tell us about your experience with the health effects of office life. Any suggestions for combating the effects of the sedentary salaried lifestyle?