Sitting can be harmful to your health. Long periods of sitting have been linked to numerous health problems including obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels. These conditions can increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Immediately after you sit down, the electrical activity in your muscles slows, and your metabolism drops to burning only about one calorie per minute – one third of what it does if you’re walking. After just two weeks of sitting for more than six hours per day, your body increases plasma triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and insulin resistance. Aside from all of these problems, prolonged periods of sitting can cause your butt to start to resemble the seat of your chair and even get a little, well…jello-y.
You can prevent office chair butt and help prevent the other negative side effects of prolonged sitting in the office by taking just a few steps – literally and figuratively. Following any or all of the next ten steps can help keep you healthy and avoid office chair butt.
- Get up every 60 to 90 minutes and stretch or walk around the office. Whether you’re getting a glass of water, walking to the bathroom, or even just marching in place for twenty seconds, just standing up and moving around will help boost your metabolism back up after a prolonged period of sitting.
- Stand while talking on the phone. It’s much easier to remember that you need to take a break from sitting when you make a habit of it while doing something else like talking on the phone. You can quickly adjust your office routine to avoid chair butt by standing every time you’re on the phone.
- Take the stairs to a restroom on a different floor or take the scenic route. Every bit of exercise you can get during your workday will help avoid the negative consequences of prolonged sitting. Climbing just two flights of stairs each day can result in a loss of six pounds per year!
- Don’t call, email or chat with your colleagues. Whenever possible, walk to your colleagues’ offices to converse with them in-person instead of emailing, instant messaging, or calling them. Not only will you benefit from the exercise, but also from the increased social interaction of speaking with them face to face.
- Invest in an ergonomic chair (we can certainly help you with THAT!). The chair you use can help prevent a sore rear and stress on your back and tailbone. Using a chair with good lumbar support will assist in preserving your good posture even while sitting. A chair that allows for easy adjustments as you choose different sitting positions throughout the day will help make office chair butt a thing of the past. 1Stop Office Furniture has many new and used office chairs that feature multiple adjustments to help you sit comfortably and correctly at your desk.
- Stretch your body. There are many stretching exercises you can use throughout your day to keep your rear from falling asleep and the rest of your body from getting restless or cramped. Raise your hands to the ceiling as far as you can. Bend over and touch your knees, your shins, and if you can, touch your feet or even the floor. Hold each stretch for five to ten seconds and repeat five times each. Sit in your chair with both feet flat on the floor and your back straight. Lift one knee as far as it will go while pointing your toes, and then lower your foot back to the floor and switch legs.
- Squeeze your butt. One of the easiest and least obtrusive ways to exercise at your desk is the butt squeeze. Hold a tight squeeze as long as you can, then release. Repeat five to ten times. You can even give your thighs a good workout by placing a small ball between your legs and squeezing away while you work. Your colleagues won’t see these exercises happening, but your sleek butt and toned thighs will say it all.
- Take a 10-15 minute walk during lunch. While doctors recommend getting at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular per day, you can get half of that done during your lunch break by picking a nearby mall, park or other walk-able location for your lunch break. You can even eat while you walk if your lunch is portable.
- Put your legs in motion while sitting. Just alternating between fully extended legs and legs held close to your chair throughout the day can help improve your health situation during prolonged sitting. You can improve this further with leg circles by extending one leg and slowly making small circles in one direction, gradually making the circles larger, then switch directions and make the circles smaller. Repeat with the other leg.
- Set an hourly alarm to remind you to stand. If you have trouble remembering to move about during your workday, make use of today’s most common office equipment, your computer. Setting up the Windows Task Scheduler or the OS X clock’s “Announce the time” feature, your computer will remind you to take a break and start moving.
Introducing extra movement into your office workday can be made even easier by introducing these tips to your co-workers and committing to exercise at work together. Any or all of these steps can help you improve your overall health and reduce the risk of office chair butt. (And don’t forget the importance of good quality ergonomic chairs.)