The chair is your enemy
Picture courtesy of Kankie
To hear a lot of the experts I spoke to talk, you'd think that chairs are were a terrible torture device designed by the Spanish Inquisition. It seems that a lot of the unhealthiness of sitting comes from ... sitting. Eric Plasker, chiropractor and health and wellness expert, urges you not to be a "crooked sitter." "A crooked sitter sits on his or her foot," he explains. "This keeps the body in a twisted position and leads to stiff muscles, pressure on the nerves, and long-term spinal problems. Maintain good posture, sit up straight and don't sit on your foot!"
What's the key to keeping avoiding these bad habits? You might want to trade in your chair for a physioball like the one shown above. "Sitting on a ball as an office chair increases body awareness, improves balance, engages core muscles, and improves posture," says Gabriela Masala, a choreographer and consultant. "Further the ball can be used for mini stretch breaks.
Maybe you need to stop sitting altogether. "The best thing for computer-based workers to do is stand up," says Chris Sorrells, an occupational therapist and president of ErgonomicsSimplified.com. "Add a sit-to-stand keyboard tray and adjustable monitor arm to the desk. This will let you work in your current seated position, but also stand up to work for part of the day as well. Changing positions lets you work and rest different groups of muscles through the day, and burn more calories! Another option is to have a taller desk that allows you to stand and do all of your tasks (reading, writing, computing, etc.) and use an ergonomic stool. This is taller and has a footring to support your feet."
Sorrells also mentions "an electric sit-to-stand desk. The press of a single button takes your desk from sitting height to standing. This allows the most variety but is often cost prohibitive." Who knew such wondrous office furniture existed? Another such gizmo is a treadmill desk from TrekDesk, demonstrated in this breathless TV report.
Next page: Make technology your ally