Get Active at Work to Reduce Back & Neck Pain

Sitting for hours every day at work can take its toll on your back, neck and whole body. For those whose jobs require long hours sitting at a desk, fitness and stretching is particularly important. Research analysis links lack of physical activity with negative health effects. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, many cases of cancer are linked to daily lack of activity, including 43,000 cases of colon cancer and 49,000 cases of breast cancer.

Sitting with Bad Posture Can Do a Number on Your Health

Slouching, slumping the shoulders, and tipping your neck forward places excess weight and stress on the spine. The resulting alignment problems can lead to headaches and chronic neck and back pain.

Chronic neck and lower back pain is defined as pain that has lasted longer than three months, which may have resulted from repetitive stress or re-injuring an area repeatedly over a period of time. Chronic lower back and neck pain is very prevalent and can be sharp, stabbing, tingling, or burning. The pain may travel down the legs as well, making it difficult to stand upright. Dr. Joseph Merckling from Merckling Family Chiropractic has a great deal of experience treating neck and lower back pain successfully.

Reduce Back Pain and Stay Active at Work By:

1) Don’t Sit Still

Limit sitting as much as you can. Stand when taking phone calls at your desk. Walk when you can walk. For example, instead of sending an email, walk to a colleague’s office to deliver a message. The steps add up!

If you are stuck sitting at a conference table, ask your colleague to have a walking meeting instead.

Also, consider getting a standing desk. Standing is not only better for your back and posture, but it uses more muscles and burns more calories than sitting. Dr. Merckling at Merckling Family Chiropractic recommends standing up every 30 minutes to stretch your chest and extend your spine to reverse the hunched position of sitting.

standing at desk
stretching at desk

2) Stretch at the Desk

Try stretching your arms above your head, tilting your ears to your shoulders, and twisting your torso. These stretches can help reduce muscular stiffness and back pain. Ditching your chair and sitting on an exercise ball can be beneficial and will help position your body better to relieve tension off your spine.

3) Walk or Bike to Work

If you live close enough to your office, try walking or biking to work instead of driving or taking public transportation. If walking or biking to work isn’t possible, force yourself to walk more by parking farther away or taking the stairs rather than the elevator. If you take public transportation, get off one stop farther from your office and walk the extra distance.

biking to work
coworkers walking at lunch

4) Get Active During Lunch

Take advantage of the nice weather and use your lunch break to go for a walk or even to the gym if there is enough time. It’s a lot easier to be active when you can keep track of how much you’re really moving, so get an activity tracker, such as Fitbit. Tracking your activity can be an excellent way to motivate yourself to stay active and remind you of your goals.

5) Challenge Yourself

Set goals, whether that means walking a specific number of steps a day or doing desk exercises for a set number of minutes. It’s easy to get lost in your busy work day schedule, but it’s important to challenge yourself to be active as much as possible and set realistic goals to hold yourself accountable.

6) Get Co-Workers Involved and Make it a Challenge

It’s easier to make healthy choices when you’re doing it as a group and you have that support network to motivate and encourage you. You can make exercise fun and social by starting a competition at work to track yours and your coworkers’ steps to see who can walk the most in a day.

Mark It on the Calendar:

Putting some time in your calendar to remind you to take a break and get active at work is important. Just by going for a short walk around the building or up and down the stairs will not only get you moving, but will also help clear your head, so you go back to work feeling a bit more refreshed and productive.

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