5 Simple Ways to Be Healthier and More Productive Without Leaving Your Desk

I saw this one on the internet and thought I would share it with you.  It comes from Entrepreneur, so I guess that means it is for important people, haha!  I hope you can use it:

We know physical health affects job performance, yet the demands of the day often win out over doctors’ orders. While studies show that a ten minute break for every 50 minutes of intense mental demand is required to keep your brain at its’ optimal performance, getting up from the desk is not always an option, especially for busy entrepreneurs. Follow these tips to stay healthy and productive even when desk-bound.

1. Boost your immune system with lemon water.“Squeezing half of a fresh lemon into an eight-ounce glass of water will kick-start the liver to metabolize waste more effectively, minimizing digestive bloating, gas, constipation and body pains”, says Naturopathic doctor Camille Nghiem-Phu. Bonus: lemon is an uplifting scent that can make you feel more energized and alert.

2. Get rid of your chair for better posture. “Poor posture obstructs proper blood flow and nerve conduction to our organs,” says Nghiem-Phu. Bad posture can also often lead to lower back, upper neck and shoulder pain resulting in headaches and poor concentration.

Switch up your desk chair for an inflatable exercise ball that allows you to keep your back straight while strengthening the core muscles. “Ensuring proper ergonomic positions will accelerate fresh oxygen delivery to the brain for mental sharpness,” says Nghiem-Phu.

3. Choose high-protein snacks. “Protein keeps the blood sugar stable to ward off the highs and lows of sugar-crashes that come from consuming only carbohydrates at mealtimes,” says Nghiem-Phu. Exchange your coffee and doughnut for high-protein snacks such as raw almonds, fruit, plain Greek yogurt or hummus and veggies and avoid refined sugars to ensure optimal mental performance all day long.

4. Drink more water than you think you need. Drinking water keeps the brain and muscles hydrated. We’ve all heard the advice to drink eight 8-ounces glasses of water a day, but it’s not one size fits all. Your weight in kilograms is equal to the ounces of water your body requires each day, according to the American Dietetic Association. So if you weigh 170 pounds (77kg) you should drink 77 ounces of water a day (or almost 10 eight-ounce glasses). Increase this number by 16 to 20 ounces when you exercise.

5. Stretch at your desk. Taking a break to do some stretches improves circulation allowing fresh oxygen delivery to the brain, and minimizes neck and shoulder tension that lead to headaches. Nghiem-Phu recommends the following stretches for the desk-bound:

  • With a straight back, bend your elbow, reaching your right hand towards the back of your head, for the area behind the left ear and bring your chin towards the right shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.”This stretches the muscles at the back of the head that are typically tightened to cause migraines and tension headaches,” says Nghiem-Phu.
  • To stretch the neck and upper back, bring both hands to the back of the head and allow the weight to bring your head forward while keeping your back straight.
  • With your right hand on your right hip, raise the left arm to the ceiling. Bend sideways at the waist towards the right to stretch the obliques. Repeat on the other side. “This opens the rib cage to maximize air circulation in the lungs,” says Ngheim-Phu.
  • To stretch the upper back, stand up, place both hands on the desk in front of you and take a couple steps back so you’re bent at the hip with your arms outstretched and your head facing the floor.

How To Reduce Back Pain While Sitting In A Office Chair

How back pain results from sitting in an office chair
Sitting in office chairs for prolonged periods of time can be a major cause of back pain. Sitting is a static posture that can cause increased stress in the back, neck, arms and legs, and can add a tremendous amount of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs. Additionally, sitting in a slouched-over or slouched-down position in an office chair can overstretch the spinal ligaments and strain the spinal discs.

Besides being uncomfortable, over time, poor sitting posture and workplace ergonomics can damage spinal structures and contribute to recurrent episodes of back pain.

Guidelines for sitting in an office chair
Here are some important guidelines to help make sure that your office chair and work area is as comfortable as possible and causes the least amount of stress to your spine:

1. Elbow measure
Begin by sitting comfortably as close as possible to your desk so that your upper arms are parallel to your spine. Rest your hands on your work surface (e.g. desktop, computer keyboard). If your elbows are not at a 90-degree angle, move your chair either up or down.

2. Thigh measure
Check that you can easily slide your fingers under your thigh at the leading edge of the chair. If it is too tight, you need to prop your feet up with an adjustable footrest. If there is more than a finger width between your thigh and the chair, you need to raise the desk/work surface so that you can raise your chair.

3. Calf measure
With your bottom against the chair back, try to pass your clenched fist between the back of your calf and the front of your chair. If you can’t do that easily, the chair is too deep. You will need to adjust the backrest forward, insert a lumbar support, or get a new office chair.

4. Lower-back support
Your bottom should be pressed against the back of your chair, and there should be a cushion that causes your lower back to arch slightly so that you don’t slump forward as you tire. This support is essential to minimize the load (strain) on your back. Never slump or slouch in your chair, as that places extra stress on your spine and lumbar discs.

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 5. Eye level

Close your eyes while sitting comfortably with your head facing forward. Slowly open your eyes. Your gaze should be aimed at the center of your computer screen. If your computer screen is higher or lower than your gaze, you need to either raise or lower it.

6. Armrest
Adjust the armrest of your chair so that it just slightly lifts your arms at the shoulders. Use of an armrest on your office chair allows you to take some of the strain off your neck and shoulders, and it should make you less likely to slouch forward in your chair.

Alternatives to a traditional office chair
While this article is about traditional office chairs, some people prefer more active, ergonomic chairs, such as a Swedish kneeling chair or a Swiss exercise ball. Traditional chairs are designed to provide complete support, but a kneeling chair (or Swedish kneeling chair) promotes good posture without a back support, and an exercise ball (or Swiss ball) helps develop your abdominal and back muscles while you sit. It’s advisable to first talk with your doctor prior to using one of these types of chairs if you have an injured back or other health problems.

Avoid static posture while sitting in office chairs
Finally, no matter how comfortable you are in your office chair; prolonged, static posture is not good for your back. Try to remember to stand, stretch and walk for at least a minute or two every half hour. Moving about and stretching on a regular basis throughout the day will help keep your joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons loose, which in turn will help you feel more comfortable, more relaxed and more productive.