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Many of us have been working from home for several months. For some of us this has meant we’ve significantly increased the length of time we are sitting each day or we’ve been working at a home office not set up ergonomically.

How many hours are you sitting each day? Research tells us that 6-8 hours of sitting in one day can increase our risk of developing heart disease, obesity, lower back pain, depression and some cancers. However, if sitting for long periods is unavoidable for you, there are ways to mitigate the negative impacts and evidence has shown these strategies to be effective.

OccHealth by Altius Exercise Physiologists Jack Whitaker and Brendon Kenny outline 3 simple ways to combat the risks of sitting – they are simple and easy to implement without taking up much time:

  1. Your next posture is your best posture: Although sitting often gets a bad rap, sitting on its own isn’t necessarily bad – the problem is the lengthy time we spend doing so. Our bodies are designed to move and staying in any one position for too long is unrealistic and not durable. The muscles responsible for posture in sitting or standing contract and relax to change the position that our bodies are in. Any muscle can fatigue or become exhausted. When this happens, we generally experience discomfort or pain. Try to move and change postures regularly, before the discomfort kicks in.
  2. Regular stretching: As we just mentioned, muscles fatigue and can sometimes overload from being stressed and overworked. Stretching whilst sitting or standing at your desk is a great way to unload this tension and ensure that your muscles can work more efficiently. If you’re sitting whilst reading this, try standing up now, place your hands behind your back and squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for 10 seconds.
  3. Add movement into your day: Try scheduling meetings as phone calls and walk as you talk. This may involve pacing around your office, home or even outside. This is a fantastic opportunity to add movement into your work day. Look for simple substitutions like attending meetings virtually, asking for meetings to be held as a walk and talk or walking to the local coffee shop whilst on the phone. Remember, our bodies love movement, they are designed to move!

The OccHealth by Altius team of Exercise Physiologists and Occupational Therapists are here to help you to manage your sitting tolerance or to assist your employees to work ergonomically, either at home, or as they return to the office. Visit us at OccHealth by Altius.