Today ‘working’ usually implies sitting at a desk from morning to evening. While this may seem more comfortable than working in the fields, sitting at a desk can trigger a host of back problems. This is because sitting in the same position all day makes the spine bend forward and lowers the efficiency of the back muscles. Working at a desk not only strains your back but also restricts your movements to typing on a keyboard and moving a mouse.
Once a back problem begins, it usually lasts a lifetime hence; here are a few tips to save your back.
- Get yourself a good chair: Your chair is crucial to your back’s health. Avoid the hard backed plastic chairs and pick a more flexible mesh backed office chair if you sit at the table for a long span of time. Ergonomic chairs may seem expensive but are worth the expense in the long run.
- Stretch your muscles: Sitting in the same position all day, puts the muscles under stress and with time can constrict the muscles. Make it appoint to stand up every 30 minutes and stretch your back and sides. Also, try rotating your hips and shoulders from time to time.
- Take a break: No matter how much work you have in front of you, take a break at the end of each hour. Taking even 2 minutes off out of 60 every hour can have a huge impact on your health. If you still feel guilty skip using the phone to connect with your colleague and walk over to their desks instead.
- Get a pedometer: Keeping a pedometer will help you track the number of steps taken in a day. Ideally, a person should take 10,000 steps a day to stay healthy. If you sit at a desk for the majority of the day, take every opportunity you can to up the count on your pedometer. Go for a walk around your office after lunch or park your car a little way off from the office to create opportunities to walk.
- Take the stairs: As far as possible avoid escalators and elevators. Instead, climb stairs for a quick workout. If your office is on the 20th floor, walking up may not be feasible, but you could get off the elevator on the 18th floor and walk up the remaining two floors.
- Eat healthily: Lastly, pay attention to what you eat. Avoid eating at the office canteen or picking up a bite at the coffee shop and carry lunch from home. This ensures that you eat a balanced meal.
By Dr. Rajesh Pal (MPTH/MPT-Orthopedic Physiotherapy)