Office Life and Your Spine
It’s no secret that a sedentary lifestyle isn’t the healthiest. While most jobs involve physical activity — manual laborers, healthcare workers, education, childcare, etc. — it goes without saying that large swaths of the American population work in offices and hardly ever get out of their chair during a typical 8+ hour work day. For those that work in offices, if they don’t take extra care to exercise and be active in other ways throughout the day, it can lead to weight gain, poor blood circulation, weaker bones and muscles, a decrease in metabolism and a weak spine. All of these factors can lead to some serious health conditions. But the relationship between sedentary lifestyle and spinal degradation, decreased range of motion and negative impacts on flexibility are correlated. Here are a few tips to stay healthy at the office and stave off potentially crippling back and neck pain.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: daily stretches are your best friend. Take 10–15 minutes each morning after you wake up, before you get ready, to start your day off right — not with coffee, but with a few simple stretches that will improve your flexibility, strengthen your spine and retain your range of motion.
Take it one step further and do them at the office periodically. Feeling stressed and down during a rough day? Take a few minutes to stretch it out and do some deep breathing. Relax your body and your mind and let go of that stress. It may feel silly at first, but closing the door or going out into the hall to stretch for a few minutes can vastly improve your mood and physical health.
The benefits of walking and jogging are so numerous they’re impossible to count. Too often we spend the day at the office sitting down. Maybe we’ll walk to get lunch, go to grab more coffee or take bathroom breaks, but it’s not enough. Walking more is especially important if your form of unwinding at the end of the day involves sitting to watch TV, play video games or being on a computer. Instead, try to get in the habit of going for frequent walks both in and out of the office. After you eat lunch, don’t just go back to sitting at the desk. Go for a 10 minute walk as you digest to clear your head — invite your coworkers to join, if you want company. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go walk around the office for 5 minutes every so often. It’ll make you feel better, more alert and at the same time helps to improve balance and coordination.
Invest in an Ergonomic Chair
You’ve probably heard of them, but may not know a whole lot about them. An ergonomic chair is great for both helping to relieve back pain and preventing it in the first place. They are designed to improve posture and retain spinal integrity. You’re sitting for 8+ hours per day, so it goes without saying that you should be as comfortable as possible; and while you’re at it, be proactive in your health, too. Sitting down all day is unhealthy, period. Sitting down all day in an ergonomic chair is slightly less unhealthy. But combine it with these other tips and you’ll see definite improvements in posture, mood and overall spinal health.
Schedule Regular Chiropractic Visits
One of the best things you can do when you live the sedentary office life is to visit a chiropractor. When patients schedule first-time consultations with me, I make sure to get all the relevant information — lifestyle, past surgeries, recent injuries, pregnancies, etc. — in order to custom tailor a treatment plan for them. Each patient has different needs and chiropractic isn’t a one-size-fits-all practice. During regular visits, I not only administer treatment, but I’ll make lifestyle recommendations, provide advice on how you can be more proactive in your health, and show you how to do some crucial stretches on your own at home.
The health consequences of the sedentary office lifestyle are often flippantly disregarded by modern society, since it’s so commonplace in the American workforce. But office life with no supplementary exercise, care for the spine, or proper treatment, is taking a serious toll on our bodies over time. I can help you deal with daily stressors and prevent the health decline that comes with an office lifestyle. If you’re ready to take your personal health into your own hands, give me a call and schedule a consultation today!