Remember the old Yellow Pages slogan, “Let Your Fingers Do the Walking?”
Well let me tell you, my fingers do a lot of “walking” – sometimes even more than my legs do. You see, I spend long hours in front of my computer, which means I also spend a lot of time sitting down.
Now I know I’m not the only one. Spending too much time sitting – and sometimes slouching – on chairs is detrimental for our bone and overall health.
Even if we exercise every day, even if we go for long walks, uninterrupted sitting and immobility can hinder our bone-building efforts. We're designed for movement, so the idea is to get off the chair as often as possible to move around for a few minutes… to get the blood circulating and to use our muscles. Here are the ‘tricks' I use throughout my work day to get up off my chair and keep me moving:
My Water Trick
This is one of my favorite tricks to keep me moving during my workday: I leave my glass of water far away from my desk, so I'm forced to get up to get it every time I want a drink. And I don’t just walk to it – I do lunges and stretches as I walk.
This ensures that I get up and keep my blood flowing throughout the day.
Standing and stretching are great ways to interrupt a long sitting session. Here are some of the stretches I do:
A few times a day I also practice Native Squats. They're a great way to stretch the tight hip muscles. The trick is to make sure you keep your heels flat on the ground and your knees spread wide. You’ll immediately feel the beneficial hip stretch. If you’ve never done them before, always hold on to something at the beginning till you get the hang of it.
Native Squatting is a more natural position than sitting, but we have “forgotten” this. Children can squat without any problems… until they start sitting on chairs. Talking about chairs, it is important to maintain a good posture while sitting down, so as not to weaken and hurt the the back muscles. Here's a video that demonstrates the proper squatting posture:
Here’s one more trick to prevent arm and hand pain caused by computer use. Watch this great demonstration of my favorite hand stretch:
If you don’t work, if you work from home, or if you have your own private office, you can get started right away and get those muscles moving. Otherwise, why not start your own “Movers and Stretchers” group at work? Let me know how that goes…