How Sitting All Day Can Affect Your Overall Health

how_sitting_all_day_can_a_122804_225547Does your job involve a lot of sitting? If so, you can be damaging your body without even knowing it. Sitting all day can increase your risk of developing serious health issues and decrease your quality of life. Below are some major health issues that can be caused by sitting, and some things you can do to help reduce your risks.

Health Risks of Sitting down All Day

  • Sitting for more than 6 hours a day for 10 years can increase your risk of developing heart disease by 64%.
  • Sitting too much can raise your risk of developing prostate cancer by 30%.
  • Those who set for 6 hours or more a day over the period of 10 years have a 30% higher rate of developing breast cancer.
  • Sitting all day can make you gain unwanted weight which can cause a host of health problems including diabetes.
  • Sitting for long periods of time can increase the chances of developing high levels of bad cholesterol.

Two Things That You Can Do To Stay Healthy

While many of us might not have a choice when it comes to sitting at work there are some things you can do to help you stay healthy. Below are two simple things that everyone can do to stay fit and decrease their health risks at the same time.

1. Stand up and walk around for 10 minutes each hour. This is a great way to get your blood flowing and help you stay healthy. Even if you just walk around your office you should always try to get up from your chair each hour. Surely your boss won’t mind if you do.

2. Get 30 minutes of activity per day. Taking just 30 minutes out of your day to exercise can greatly reduce your risk of developing serious health issues. Brisk walking, working out at the gym or running on your own treadmill are all great ways to get your daily 30.

Now that you know the risks of sitting too long and what you can do to stay healthy at work, why not act? Your health is very important and you should always be proactive about it. If you are a business owner, why not implement a health program to help those workers whose jobs require them to set long periods of time? Not only will you help your workers become healthy, you will also improve productivity and cut down on medical related costs. Start putting what you have learned here to good use today.

Carpal Tunnel – Three Simple Ways To Reduce Your Risk

carpal_tunnel_-_three_sim_122788_225528Carpal tunnel is bad news. It’s something you want to avoid at all costs, because once you have it, it can take a long time for it to go away, and it may require surgery. In the meanwhile though, you’ll suffer a nasty combination of numbness and pain.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused when pressure is put on the soft tissue in the wrist which cuts off the blood supply to nerve endings. If caught right away, when the first signs of numbness present themselves, it’s usually easily reversible, but if left unchecked, that’s when surgery may be required. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce your risks. Here are the three things that make the biggest difference:

Regular Breaks Matter

You don’t even have to get up from your chair, but you absolutely should take a break from your work and perform a series of wrist bends and stretches in order to keep them limber and flexible.

Ergonomics is Everything

The phone on your desk, your keyboard, and your mouse should all be within easy reach. No more than the length of your forearm in distance from your body. You’re going to want to adjust the height of your chair so that when you are seated at your desk, your forearms are level with your keyboard. In this configuration, you won’t have to bend or flex your wrists when you type.

Keyboard Pads

You may have seen these on the keyboards of people you work with. These are long strips of foam that run along the bottom edge of your keyboard. Consider them to be “palm pillows.” They cushion you’re the heels of your palms, preventing the nerves in your wrist and hands from getting squeezed.

If you follow these three simple strategies, you won’t reduce your risk of getting Carpal tunnel to zero, but you’ll go a long way toward that goal. Your wrists will thank you for it.

3 Fabulous Exercises To Help With Back Pain

3_fabulous_exercises_to_h_122791_225531Every year, three out of four Americans will wind up paying a visit to their doctor because of back or neck pain. In the “good ol’ days,” most doctors prescribed bed rest for those times when your back was giving you trouble, but these days, science has changed the direction of the prevailing wisdom. We now know that bed rest is probably the worst thing you could do, and exercise is the surest and fastest way to get your back, back to normal.

Of course, not just any exercise will do. If you’re already in pain, then you’ve got to be careful with how you work those tender muscles. The exercises below are among the best choices for people suffering with back pain to help speed healing, and get you back to enjoying a pain free life.

Spinal Stretch

This one is a nice way to warm up and cool down. It’s low-intensity, and works most of the muscles in your back, so wherever your pain is centered, this one will help. Lie on a back with a pillow or other cushion under your head. Bend your legs at the knee, with your knees pressed together. Breathe slowly and deeply, and as you exhale, twist at the waist, rolling your knees until they touch the floor (or as close as you can get). Hold, and then return to the upright position, repeating on the next exhale. Start with five reps to one side, then switch and do five reps to the other.

Lower Back Stretch

This one is especially helpful for people suffering with lower back pain, but of course, it will provide some generalized benefit to any back pain sufferer. Begin on all fours, with your knees directly under your hips, and your hands directly under your shoulders. Your spine should be in its natural, “neutral” position. Your head should be held slightly up, so that it is in line with your spine, shoulders back, and elbows not locked. Breathe deeply, and on the exhale, slowly rock backwards from this position, buttocks toward heels. Hold for thirty seconds, then return to the starting position. Begin with five reps, working up to more as comfort allows.

Bird Dog

Another fantastic, general purpose stretch that gently works all the major muscles of the back. Begin on all fours, positioned as described in the Lower Back Stretch, above. Breathe deeply, and on the exhale, extend one leg, and the opposite arm out straight (or as straight as you’re able), running in a line with your spine. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds, then return to your starting position. On the next breath extend the other arm and leg. Try for ten reps (five per side), building on that number as comfort allows.

Using just these three exercises, you’ll be able to quickly, and in a low-impact manner, work those aching muscles, ease your pain, and restore greater mobility. Given time and consistent use, these stretches can get you fully back on your feet again.

Five Tips For Better Office Posture and Health

office-1078869_640How many hours a day do you spend hunched over your computer, smartphone, or tablet at your desk? When you stop to think about it, the number will probably shock you, and it’s all but certain that your posture isn’t picture perfect, which unfortunately, can lead to back and neck pain over time if you’re not careful. Fortunately, this is an entirely fixable problem. Here are five quick tips you can use, starting right now, to improve your posture and minimize your risk of back or neck injury.

Take Short Breaks Throughout The Day

Let’s start with the simplest and most basic thing. Put yourself on a schedule, and take regular walking breaks. They don’t have to be very long, even five minutes will do. The main point is to simply make time for it. Bonus tip: If you start drinking more water, you’ll have to go to the bathroom more often, and you won’t have to rely on technology to remind you. Your bladder will take care of that.

Better Back Support

Sometimes the best solutions are also the simplest. The reality is that office chairs (even really expensive ones) aren’t all that comfortable. After a few hours, it feels like you’re sitting on concrete blocks. A simple solution is to add a lumbar pillow for extra support for your lower back. They’re quite inexpensive, and dramatically increase your comfort, while automatically improving your posture.

Be Mindful

If you’re not thinking about your posture, you’re going to slouch. The reason? Your body doesn’t like being uncomfortable, and you’ve spent so much time standing and sitting in poor posture positions that your body has gotten used to it, so of course, it becomes the new normal. Reverse that trend by being aware of your posture as you’re working. You don’t have to think about it on a constant basis, but be mindful of it, and keep your shoulders back, and your ears in line with your shoulders. You’ll be amazed at the difference this small change can make.

Uncross Those Legs

Few things are worse for your back than sitting with your legs crossed. This is another quick, easy change to make that will dramatically improve your posture and reduce the chances of back trouble later on.

Neck and Shoulder Exercises

If you’ve ever been to a chiropractor, you already know these exercises. Several times a day, gently roll your shoulders, expanding your chest out and holding that position, then completing a shoulder rotation. Do a quick set of ten reps, then simply turn your head left to right, rotating it as far as you can and holding for a few seconds before rotating back the other direction. Again, a quick rep of ten a few times a day will keep your neck and shoulders flexible.

By using these few simple tips you can increase your comfort, reduce strain and pains, get better circulation, and be well on your way to better health. Try a couple of these and see if it makes a difference in your well-being throughout the work day.