For many workers, sitting or standing still for 7+ hours straight can have a very negative effect on the state of your body.
Although you may think that aches, pains and fatigue are the result of heavy physical labour. It can equally be caused by stress and tension, which is what you put your body through when sitting or standing in one place for extended periods of time.
If you want to maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle it is important to limit any impact that your job may have on your body. Not just because of the short term discomfort, but also to limit any potential long term effects.
In this article we give our top 7 tips on how to reduce workplace aches and pains.
Move about more
Many workers live a pretty sedentary lifestyle. Remaining in one place for an extended period of time puts a huge amount of pressure on the various muscles and joints which are holding you up. That is why it is so important to get up and move about, giving those muscles a rest and gently stretching them out.
Doing this doesn’t have to mean running a marathon. In fact, just scheduling small opportunities for movement can go a long way to limiting aches and pains.
The British Heart Foundation recommended making a few small changes that will encourage movement. These include moving your bin away from the desk so you have to get up to use it, walking to colleague’s desks to ask them questions rather than phoning or emailing them and using the toilet the furthest away from your desk. These are just small things that can make a big difference.
Even some gentle yoga is a possibility from your desk. David Beckham’s yoga teacher Shina Vertue recommends a simple stretching routine that can help bust the everyday pains of working from a desk. Don’t worry, there is no need to clear the room for some downward dogs!
Of course, we can’t spend all day walking around and stretching…we still have work to do. But even during the times we are sat or stood still we can do a lot to help limit our aches and pains.
For those working from a desk, start by ensuring that the chair you are using is adjustable and will meet with your requirements. This includes supporting your back, especially the lower part and being able to place your feet flat on the floor.
If your desk chair doesn’t allow you to do this, you should highlight this to the suitable person in your business.
Desk set up
Equal in its importance to having your chair set up correctly is having your desk set up and laid out in a way which will not cause too much strain to your body.
To do this, you should ensure that your computer screen is placed at eye level so you are not cranking your head up or down for prolonged periods of time. You should also place your keyboard directly in front of you whilst typing, leaving a 4-6 inch gap for you to rest your wrists on – using a wrist rest can also take away a lot of potential strain.
You should also keep your mouse as close as possible to limit over stretching at an awkward angle. Again, a mouse mat with a wrist rest may help to limit fatigue.
Finally, to avoid strain on the eyes, the correct spectacles should be worn and any reflection on your computer screen should be avoided.
Many jobs involve standing in one place for long periods of time. For those people, there can be equal, if not larger amounts of stress and pressure put onto their bodies.
One innovative way to help deal with this is via the use of anti-fatigue mats. These comfortable floor matting surfaces can take much of the strain away from the legs and rest of the body by encouraging greater blood flow and easing pressure on joints, making standing for prolonged periods significantly more comfortable and healthier.
According to UK retailer First Mats:
“Standing for long periods can have a detrimental effect on your body. By using an anti-fatigue mat you promote healthy blood flow and reduce the chances of serious health issues occurring”
How much water do you drink in a day? Did you know that the NHS recommend that we down 6 to 8 glasses every 24 hours?
This might seem like a lot of liquid to be consuming, but it is important in keeping our bodies healthy and functioning. Drinking water helps our body with everything from improved cognitive function through to helping flush out waste product.
When it comes to workplace fatigue, getting enough water is also linked closely to tackling lower back pain. This is due to the need for water in lubricating the movement between the 24 vertebrae which make up our spine.
Similar in many ways to drinking enough water, making sure we are eating the right foods goes a long way to limiting aches, pains and fatigues in the workplace. Doing this helps in two key ways.
Firstly, limiting sugary foods and excessive amounts of caffeine will help to stop spikes and dips in your energy levels. Secondly, by eating healthy foods which include proteins and nutrients you will increase the body’s ability to repair itself from the daily stresses your work puts on it.
Change location (if you can)
One final tip which combines both the point about sitting in a comfortable position and moving as much as possible is building a change of location into your daily routine. Obviously, this is not always an option for work places with strict policies or little work space.
If you are able, working from a coffee shop for a short period of time or even just sitting in a communal space will ensure you are moving and helping your body to relax.
We can see that standing or sitting in place for a long period of time can have a negative impact on our bodies. By taking on board some of the tips we have highlighted in this guide you will be able to limit these impacts and ensure your body stays healthy and happy.