How to Counter the Effects of Sitting All Day
Have a desk job? Here are things you can do to keep your body moving throughout the day.
We get it—you have a job that requires you to sit at a desk all day. So it's not like you have too much choice as to how you spend your 9 to 5, at least if you want to stay employed. But you probably know that sitting all day isn't good for your health. So what's a conscientious worker supposed to do to keep their job while also staying healthy?
While you may not be able to be on your feet that much, there are a number of ways you can counteract the negative effects of sitting. Here are some stretches and exercises you can do whether you work in a cubicle, private office or at home. They'll help keep your blood flowing and body loose while still collecting a paycheck.
- Neck stretch: Slowly move your neck in a circle, first in one direction and then the other. This helps stretch muscles that tighten while sitting and staring at a screen all day.
- Shoulder stretch: To help your shoulders relax, extend your right arm across your body and use the lower part of your left arm to pull your right arm close to your chest—then repeat on the other side.
- Hip stretch: To loosen hips, cross your right ankle over your left knee while sitting in a chair. Gently push your right knee towards the ground with your hand—then switch sides.
- Hamstring stretch: While sitting in your chair, plant the backs of your heels on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Arch your toes back towards you and lean forward.
- Yoga poses: There are many yoga poses you can do right at your desk to stretch muscles, loosen joints, get your blood flowing and reduce stress. From tree poses to modified downward facing dogs, these stretches are the perfect way to counteract too much sitting.
- Stand: There's no reason you can't stand when performing certain tasks at your desk. Having an adjustable or standing desk makes it easier to spend more time out of a chair during the day.
- Move: Any time you can get up from your chair and walk around, do so. Whether you take a few trips to the bathroom, walk to a co-worker's desk, walk the dog if you're working from home or use your lunch break to get in some physical activity, your body will thank you. Spending as much time as possible being physically active outside of work hours also helps counter some of the detrimental effects of sitting all day. Try to get out of the habit of coming home after a long day of work and plopping down on the couch in front of another screen!
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Date Last Reviewed: March 14, 2022
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Andrew Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS