To work efficiently, the human body needs to move throughout the day. Most of us spend 8 hours (at least) a day sitting at our desks or cubicles. This creates a number of problems for the human body, some of which can be very serious. Countering these negative effects through stretching, while easy to do, can have huge impacts on your health.
The act of sitting all day (and not just in the office) creates problems in our bodies. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, the spleen is in charge of transformation and transportation in the body. When we are not moving, this function is not carried out fully and can lead to possible digestive issues, fatigue and sluggishness, poor appetite, or edema. Likewise, the spleen is in charge of the “yi”, the intellect. Concentrating and worrying all day is taxing on the yi and spleen and further decreases it’s functioning. On another note, the ergonomic hazards of working at a desk also add up and tax the body – wrist pains from typing all day, decreased vision and possible headaches from staring at a computer screen, muscle pains from compression and decreased muscle activity, decreased circulation…and the list goes on. Spending time during your workday to stretch is a great way to counterbalance the necessity to sit while working.
Every hour, you should spend 5 – 10 minutes stretching or moving. This can be something like going to the bathroom, walking to get a glass of water or focused stretching on certain muscle groups such as your neck, your wrists, low back and lower legs. Spend a 30 seconds stretching each group on each side. Another way to help combat workplace overuse and fatigue is through regular massage. Therapeutic body work can address specific muscle groups that may be over/under worked, help relieve stress and improve your overall well being.
A very crucial part of your stretching routine at work is scheduling your stretching. When I use the word schedule, I mean it! Studies have shown that programming your day leads to a more productivity and less chance of forgetting important tasks. Stretching is one of these tasks. The long term impact on your health is immense and you don’t really need to do that much work. Remember, you wouldn’t need to schedule in stretching if you were already doing it, and, since you aren’t, schedule it! And, once you begin this small change in your daily work routine, you will notice less fatigue, better focus and greater ability to cope with stress so go on, get moving!
Megan Bowers, LMT
The Personal Wellness Center
106 Milford St., Suite 701
Salisbury, MD 21804
Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday (every other): 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.