Feeling stiff in the morning while getting ready to attend your office job? The secret to your soreness could lie in the job itself. Office jobs or any job that is fairly sedimentary and requires a lot of sitting can take it’s hidden toll on your back, hips and comfort. Unfortunately, damage can happen over months and years, only revealing itself as temporary stiffness until the damage is done and suddenly that soreness becomes a pain that you can’t ignore.
What Is The Effect of Sitting Long-Term?
Humans are interesting creatures; we have an ongoing need to be social and are fairly fragile in nature, even if we try to deny it. We aren’t intended to sit for long periods of time, we evolved from an ancestor that would spend the vast majority of their day on their feet, scavenging to survive, travelling huge distances to track food and safety. Fast forward several million years and we no longer need to travel huge distances by foot, instead, we have the convenience of public transport and private cars at our hand but this often means more sitting, sometimes for hours a day as part of a commute.
The worst part of sitting for a long time is not so much the sitting itself, but often the way we sit. Most people have a tendency to slouch or if they are using a computer, they don’t keep their monitor and chair at the recommended height – causing a strain on your neck and shoulders. The more years we spend sitting incorrectly, the more our body begins to adapt to prevent painful damage and you may notice a biological change in structure – a shortening of muscles and the bones in your spine changing shape.
Avoiding Feelings of Stiffness
Fortunately, all is not lost, even if you have been working an office job for many years and have started to notice the stiff and soreness creeping into your muscles. There are exercises you can do to relieve the tension including in-office stretches and core workouts you can do from home that will help you to feel more comfortable and also tools you can use in the office to ensure you are sitting correctly.
Beginning with a quality chair – your chair should be completely adjustable, including the back, height and tilt so you can adjust it to your height, the height of your desk and the height of your monitor. Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips when sat in your chair and the height should be enough so that your forearms and wrists are level with the floor when resting on the desk. Your feet should sit flat on the floor without strain to your thighs and you should use a footrest if this is uncomfortable. Try to avoid regularly crossing your legs as this can also create posture issues that can be hard to correct.
Your computer monitor should be approximately arm’s length away from your face and at a height so your eyes are level with the top of the screen. If you notice yourself trying to strain your neck, you will need to adjust your monitor to prevent discomfort.
A key part of preventing damage is taking regular breaks from sitting, this can be as simple as going into the kitchen and stretching out any stiffness while you get a drink or taking regular walks to get the blood moving through your muscles. Ideally, you want to include a regular workout into your weekly schedule, you don’t need any expensive gym equipment to carry out efficient exercise but many people prefer to use equipment such as exercise bikes, treadmills and rowing machines to get full-body cardio in.
Your back is your pillar of support and it’s important you take care of it to prevent issues later on in life when you may have more spare time to take part in the fun and interesting things in life. By following our advice and making sure you are sitting appropriately and you take regular breaks to prevent putting unnecessary stress on your back for long periods of time – you can not only prevent damage but undo any damage that has already occurred.