Standing for prolonged periods of time makes one feel tired, and creates the urge to sit or lie down; in the same way, sitting for prolonged periods of time places undue stress on your body.
Humans have, over thousands of years, always been involved in physical activity. Hunting, gathering, farming, building, the human body was created to endure physical work, sometimes to an extreme degree. The advance of technology and subsequent changes in our lifestyle during the last decades, have resulted in many of us having to sit in front of a computer screen, sometimes for up to 15 hours per day; this sedentary lifestyle can cause various health problems, since our bodies, and more specifically our spines, cannot function in this position for long. However, there are many easy changes you can make, to help your body and general health, if you have to work or study with a computer for hours every day.
- The first way you can help your body is by taking regular breaks. Get up from your seat. Stand up straight, take a few steps around the room, stretch your arms, your legs, your spine for a few minutes every hour; it can do you a lot of good. If prolonged sitting causes you lower back pain, light, stretching exercises can bring relief. Or, get up and get a glass of water to drink, which will ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day and can focus more sharply on your work. Or go to wash your hands, which will reduce germs that spread viruses and illness. Moving regularly increases blood circulation and stretches your muscles and tendons, also relaxing your spine and brain; after a refreshing short break and walk about, you will find it much easier to concentrate on your work or studies.
- The second way is changing your diet; one of the reasons a sedentary lifestyle is bad for our bodies, is because of the kind of food we eat, while sitting at our computer. When we don’t take regular breaks and prefer to eat at our desk, we tend to eat more ready -made snacks and fast food, which not only cost more, they usually contain preservatives, flavour enhancers and other substances, which can make us lethargic, weaken our immune system and cause us to gain unhealthy weight. It is preferable to eat fruit, nuts, vegetables or home cooked food, with plenty of water.
- And last but not least is exercise. Numerous studies have shown that, even a little bit of exercise every day, can boost your energy levels and immune system. Whether it is going for a longer walk, jogging, swimming, playing sports or hitting the gym, as long as you find the exercise that’s right for you, you will not only benefit physically but also mentally, and be able to work shorter hours with better results.
So, by making these small changes in your lifestyle, you can avoid the negative effects that sitting and working on a computer for long periods of time can have, improve your concentration and mood, strengthen your body and immune system, increase your energy levels and improve your overall health.