How about some 'desk-ercise'?

How about some desk-ercise?

Although our bodies are designed to be regularly active, many of us disregard the fact

By Saman Haziq

Published: Sun 5 Feb 2017, 6:30 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Feb 2017, 8:57 PM

We all like to stay fit, look good and feel energetic, for which the body needs some sort of a movement and physical activity. Although our bodies are designed to be regularly active, many of us disregard the fact and complain of being chained to our desk jobs.
In fact, most people have all day desk jobs where they begin and end their day at their desks, parked in front of a computer for 8-10 hours straight. "A lot of times people completely disregard the havoc a simple desk job can cause to their body. Research has linked a number of health concerns with too much sitting. Low back pain, wrist pain, obesity, metabolic syndrome, shoulder aches, stiff neck etc. are a few of the health issues that may be caused," said Dr Faizal Dalvi, specialist internal medicine, Aster Clinic.
Busy is Life, an initiative of Aster Clinics, aims to address the very issue of people blaming their desk jobs for completely ignoring their health. Talking about the Cubicle circuit in particular, Dr Faizal said: "This aims to help those with a desk job to take a break to break the chain of activities every 30 minutes - 1 hour. Instead of sitting, standing up to work for a few minutes, walking when talking over the phone or stretching a little at regular intervals, are all small steps towards breaking the circuit towards a healthier workplace environment."
Snacking at office
Talking about eating habits at work, Dr Faizal said: "It is rather common that people snack on sandwiches, chocolates and cookies, coffee etc. excessively when doing a desk job because these are all convenient foods. They are easily accessible and the most convenient to pack and get along. This is another major change that needs to be made."
He said lots of water is a must to stay hydrated throughout the day. "Salads and fruits must be a regular inclusion in the diet. Snack options should be yoghurt, a fruit or vegetable or even nuts like almonds and walnuts.
"There may be a number of times where you are required to eat out for a celebration at work, it is best to choose the healthiest option when it comes to restaurant or even the food. It surely isn't possible to be completely away from food items like pizzas, biscuits, soft drinks etc. which is why an occasional indulgence is okay," he added.
Why breaks are important
The human brain isn't meant to work for extended periods, our focus shifts from time to time, however only a small break is required to get the focus back on track. Dr Faizal observed: "Employees who take frequent but short breaks during work have much more stamina and suffer from fewer aches and pains."
You may feel that a two-minute break is not long enough but it is long enough to do your body a favour and give it the rest it needs. Breaks are most effective when they are taken before they are actually needed, Dr Faizal concluded.
Sitting for long hours can lead to...
> Low back pain, wrist pain, obesity, metabolic  syndrome, shoulder aches, stiff neck
> Can cause people to have a hinged back and increase the risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular diseases
> May lead to depression because the mind has an effect on the body. Also, slouching while sitting induces feelings of fearfulness, dullness
and sluggishness
Solve the problem
> Cubicle circuit:
This means simple workouts when you are busy at work. It could be doing simple stretches and rolls without leaving your cubicle.
Tips to negate harmful effects of sitting for long:
> Standing up, stretching, walking and changing your posture at regular intervals
> Take small breaks from time to time
> Avoid eating at the desk
> Don't stare continuously at the computer screen as it strains your eye
> Head, neck and shoulder should always be aligned

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