Working in an office from 9-5 seems healthier and more body-friendly than most of the blue collar alternatives. Examples: bartending for eight hours until 3 am, scaling ladders to repair rooftops in the middle of July, or working as a machinist in a factory with rotary saws until you lose a fingertip or two. Okay, these examples are pretty extreme, and while a cushy desk job is definitely not a decent nominee for "Dirty Jobs" with Mike Rowe, the reality is that eight hours of sitting in a cushiony or mesh twirly chair (even the "ergonomic" ones), glaring at a computer screen under harsh fluorescent lighting and typing away on a dirty laptop can take its toll on the body over time.
Most reported workplace injuries (65%) are shoulder or back-related. Other common problems from sitting right on your sitz bones for long periods of time: obesity, nerve pain (e.g. pinched nerve), skeletal issues and repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. After just a few years, the sedentary lifestyle can catch up with you. The hazards of sitting all day long, whether you're staring at a computer screen at work or watching TV for five hours a day on the couch at home, are better understood now after years of extensive research. In recent years, researchers have linked too much sitting to back pain and repetitive stress injuries that occur from doing the same activity over and over again, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, obesity (secret stash of chocolate in your office desk drawer?) and even an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Sitting can be bad news! But we can help you begin reversing these adverse consequences, even before they begin. One of my coworkers has a stand up desk. Judging by his cheerful demeanor and passion for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I'd say this technique works. Amazon also sells somewhat questionable treadmill desks that are rather expensive. I would be hesitant to invest in this product due to durability and price point, and I anticipate there would be problems with legs and feet hurting after about an hour on the treadmill. Incorporating therapeutic balls offered on Yoga Direct, each unique and created to solve a specific problem, is a great way to start reversing these tragic consequences of over-sitting:
• Swapping your swivel chair with a yoga ball, also known as a Pilates ball, Swiss ball, fitness ball or balance ball, will help two-fold. First, it helps improve posture and decrease back pain. Three of my co-workers use the yoga ball instead of a desk chair and gloat over the switch's improved physical benefits. Just make sure to get a yoga ball in the correct size correlating to your height (check product descriptions). Second, on your lunch break, you can easily slip in a few fitness ball exercises to get the blood flowing and the heart pumping! Our Dragonfly Yoga Balls include a hand pump for easy inflation.
• Don't forget to grab a yoga ball base, keeping your new, hip yoga ball chair in place.
• Self deep tissue massage might sound daunting, but our newly added PERK UP t spheres® 45mm massage balls are a necessity to any desk drawer. They were developed by Stephanie Whittier, LMT and CST, who has over 20 years of pain relief through massage research and experience, which lead to the creation of these portable self-massage balls. At 45mm in diameter, t spheres work around the big muscle groups, accessing the smaller connective tissue. This blend combines the energizing qualities of peppermint with the all-natural anti-anxiety essential oil, grapefruit, which is infused directly into the t spheres composite. Plus, each set comes with an essential oil re-infuser and a jute drawstring bag.
• Thera Band Hand Exercisers are a physical therapy tool to strengthen hand muscles and ward off carpal tunnel. Feeling stressed? Close the eyes and squeeze the Hand Exerciser for a tranquil, serene moment during a stressful day. Stress-relieving firmness correlates to color. I would recommend the red ball because it's the softest.
• We also offer a Professional Core Training Ball, which is eight inches in diameter and can be inflated and placed in between thighs while you work to build strength and stay active. Or, you can place it under the back and relax the body over top to relieve tension.
Have you ever tried one of our many exercise balls in the workplace? If so, how has it improved your overall health? Or, if it didn't do much for you, we'd like to hear about your experience also!