The latest craze in the get-fit-fast movement is stand up desks at work. But are they all they are cracked up to be?
Experts note that being sedentary – think 5 hours or more at the desk in front of your computer per day – has the same terrible health effects as smoking over a pack of cigarettes that day! But in this day and age where we are all glued to our laptops, phones, and tablets – how to we avoid this trap?
· Stand up every 20 minutes. That’s when the harmful chemical changes begin within your body. Make it a point to move – even if it’s just a quick jaunt to the bathroom or copy machine.
· Get a fitbit, set a timer on your phone, or put a reminder in your calendar. These things remind you to get up frequently and motivate you to move more.
· Plan your day with frequent changes in scenery – lovingly referred to as “workstation popcorn.” Pop from a coffee shop, to your local co-working space, to your client’s office. If they are close enough together, walk or bike from one to the next!
· It isn’t all about standing – it’s about moving. Try switching your classic desk and chair to a stand-up version or use a bouncy yoga ball as your desk’s chair.
· Aim for a 70:30 split of standing (or moving) to sitting throughout your day.
Impressive but true – making an effort to keep moving throughout your day will significantly reduce your risk for heart disease. Studies have shown that “active couch potatoes” – people who train for marathons after work but sit for 12 hours during the day – have worse cardiac health and more long-term disability than those who simply take the effort to get up and down throughout. In other words, a chunk of exercise does not counteract the bad effects of a day of sitting.
As a bonus, most people who’ve tried this switch experience better mood, more energy, and less fatigue throughout the day.
So get off your chair and join the movement!
Dr. Mark Turshen MD and Dr. Lauren Hedde DO are accepting new patients at their Direct Doctors family practice in Wickford. Direct Doctors is an innovative primary care practice emphasizing an improved doctor-patient relationship. Drs. Hedde and Turshen offer 24/7 access, no waiting, same day visits, home visits, and a doctor who knows YOU well! If you are frustrated with “fast-food”, “cookie-cutter” health care, Direct Doctors may be just the prescription for you. Check out the Direct Doctors difference at www.directdoctors.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 401-400-2699.
As I get older, I'm starting to notice more aches and pains in my every day life, just like a lot of my patients. Back pain has bothered me off and on for the past several years (it has been acting up recently!) and is the top complaint for patients in a primary care setting like ours. It got me thinking about things we can all do to prevent back issues in the first place, along with simple treatments should these pains arise.
- Weight control: keeping an ideal body weight is crucial in staving off multiple musculoskeletal issues, and back pain in particular. The more weight one's core has to carry around, the more wear and tear over the years and the higher chance of acute injuries.
- Posture is key: correct posture in all aspects of life (standing, sitting, sleeping, etc) is crucial to keeping the spine correctly aligned, evenly distributing weight and limiting specific pressure points.
- Stay active: the worst thing for the back is inactivity, especially in poor posture positions like sitting at a desk!
- again, staying active is key despite the discomfort as "bed rest" has shown to be detrimental to recovery
- targeted stretching and exercises, either at home or with a physical therapist
- heat, heat, heat. All forms (hot showers, heating pads, topical bengay/icyhot) are welcome
- osteopathic manipulation or chiropractic services
- acupuncture and yoga
- analgesic medication, though caution required with other medical conditions and medications
- herbal therapies such as devil's claw, willow bark, capsicum cream and comfrey root extract
Lauren Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.