Many of us spend a great deal of time sitting in front of our computers. A physically demanding day may involve contending with a paper cut or replacing the toner in the copy machine. However, the relative comfort and safety of an office job is one of the most misleading aspects of the workplace.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time negatively impacts our memory, metabolism, the condition of our spine, circulation and a host of other factors. When you spend 40 hours or more a week in front of a computer, you may want to consider incorporating a few tricks to help you stay in top shape.
Improve Memory By Getting Away
Sitting in front of a computer for more than 90 minutes at a time can help drain your ability to stay focused and reduce your short-term memory. You may notice that you have to repeat certain tasks as the day wears on, or something that would take you 10 minutes when you are feeling fresh may take you 15 or 20 minutes if you have been working for at least five hours.
Studies show that getting up and walking around (not simply taking a break to check your personal email) can help refresh your memory and recharge your mental batteries. In a recent study, a group of scientists at the University of Michigan found that people improved their working memory span by about 20% after they took a walk outside.
Did you know that when we sit down, our metabolism starts to shut down as well? When we sit we burn as little as one calorie a minute. By standing and doing the same activity, you can dramatically increase the calories you burn. Next time you have a conference call, try standing at your desk while you talk. At the very least, try to get up and move around every few hours.
Optimize Your Environment
As much as we’d like to move around while we are at work, the reality is that we are still going to end up spending most of our time at the desk, so you may as well try to make it as comfortable as possible.
- Keep monitor at eye level to reduce neck strain;
- Sit close to your keyboard and monitor to reduce eye fatigue and wrist strain;
- Use a Swiss Ball as your desk chair to help stabilize your core muscles and keep hip and leg joints flexible. Or experiment with a standing desk to see if it is an option that can help you reduce back pain and muscle strain.
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