Articles on desks

Take a Stand and Burn Those Health Hazards: Standing vs Sitting Health Benefits

Dr. Vishwas Virmani, Physiotherapist
The 9-5 rigmarole we shudder to think of, is a grind we are most used to. From morning till late evening, most of our time at work goes with sitting, and that isn’t a good thing say experts. Did you know, there is a vast amount of difference with regard to calories burnt while standing as compared to sitting!Don’t drop that jaw when you read the above statement, for every bit of that line is true. It is but ergonomically proven and for sure, standing has shown plenty of health benefits to reap- loss of unwanted calories for sure. With sitting being firmly established as a health hazard when overdone, there are studies that show how various diseases take over physically and mentally, when we sit for too long and too much. Replacing an hour of sitting with that of standing would certainly be a good idea and a faster way to burn those calories too. No one is asking you to stand in front of your laptop all day long as work, it isn’t possible and is certainly not pain-free as well. But over time it would when you decide to stand more and sit less, see the results on how many extra calories you burned over time. Sources from the esteemed JustStand.Org have calculators that tell you how many calories one can loose per hour. For example, an empirical data shows 100 calories burnt while sitting for an hour, whereas in the same time frame while standing, you could lose 130 calories. Decide now for yourself, which would be best for you? Standing or sitting! And to do your own calculations on the same, check with JustStand.org.The Right Way to Stand and WorkIf you are done with the calculations and have made a decision to stand and work, here are a few ways to do that right-1.    Even while you are at work, ensure to take a standing break every twenty minutes. This allows your body to contract and expand its muscles, which also helps in allowing the blood flow happen as well.In the words of NYTimes Reporter, Gretchen Reynolds, it is clear that standing versus sitting;the former has more benefits “New science shows very persuasively that standing up about every 20 minutes, even for only a minute or two, reduces your risks of developing diabetes and heart disease.” Says Gretchen, after her research on how the body responds physiologically.2.    Sitting as compared to standing, leads the body into many forms of sedentary side-effects. Read more from Gretchen’s take away on her research right3.    The Cornell Ergonomics lab studies show how we should stand and work, which means the right posture and stance while standing at work!For example:●     The computer monitor shouldn’t be far (not more than 20-28 inches) from your eyes.●     The computer screen tilt shouldn’t be lesser than 20 degrees or more than that.●     The height of the table should be by the elbow or a little below.●     90-degree angle to the keyboard is a must for elbow placement.Sitting is okay to an extent, but not always recommended since the sedentary work ways can bring in a host of health issues.

Raise Your Hand if You Are Sitting Right Now!

Dr. Naveen Babu, Physiotherapist
Sitting All Day And Night May Not Lead To An Early Death When Physical Activity Is Part Of Your Routine Life:First, it was said that sitting was as bad as smoking. Then, it was found out that sitting is affecting our muscle movement and brain activity, making our butts bigger, and leaving our DNA open to aging. To combat this, you probably asked your employer to sign off on one of those fancy standing desks everyone was talking about. Then, you found out that standing desks weren’t as good as everyone said. Thankfully, a new study has found that our general beliefs about sitting for prolonged periods might not be as hazardous as previously claimed.Contrary to studies that showed even gym time can’t reverse the effects of long sitting periods, researchers from the University of Exton and the University College London found that if you are otherwise physically active, sitting for a long time doesn’t necessarily mean you are on your way to an early death.The researchers had 5,000 civil servants in London record when they sat at work and at home over the course of 16 years. 3,720 men and 1,412 women were involved in the study, and age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, general health, smoking, alcohol consumption, and diet were taken into account, as well as the amount of walking and exercise.What they found, however, was that many of the civil servants spent twice as much time walking a day than other London residents, even though the participants used London public transportation.“Our findings suggest that reducing sitting time might not be quite as important for mortality risk as previously publicized and that encouraging people to be more active should still be a public health priority,” said lead author Richard Pulsford, a researcher in the sport and health sciences department at the University of Exeter.Though the researchers agree that the study could use more research in determining if sitting can lead to diabetes, or if a person’s physical posture or lack of motion is the real reason that sitting is determined to be harmful, they concluded their study by stating, “policy makers and clinicians should be cautious about placing emphasis on sitting behavior as a risk factor for mortality that is distinct from the effect of physical activity.”It might seem as if every day a new study comes out saying sitting is bad or sitting is not so bad, but either way the message remains the same: Make sure you get at least some exercise every single day.

Fix Your Workspace Before Its Too Late

Dr. Vishwas Virmani, Physiotherapist
The first sign of an injury is often an ache or pain.And at your workstation, there are many aches and pains which can be relieved by simply changing your working posture or work patterns.Here are some of the most common aches and pains, and some simple tools on fixing them fast.Body part fatiguedCommon contributing factors What can you tryBack of neckLooking down at documents or keyboardUse a document holder. Improve keyboard skills. Check screen height.Side of neckLooking to one sideLocate documents and screen directly in front of youTop of shoulders, outside or front of shouldersKeyboard too high, arms unsupportedRaise chair, use footrest, rest palms on front of desk, reduce desk height (if adjustable)Lower backInadequate lumbar supportAdjust back rest height and angle to give firm support, remove arms from chair, remove obstructions under desk (eg drawers)Upper backTwisted postureSit straight-on, locate documents, screen and keyboard in front of youRight arm or shoulderArm outstretched unsupportedMove mouse closer, use single surface deskLeft arm, shoulder or neckReaching for telephone or cradling telephone on shoulderBring phone closer.  Use headset.Leg discomfort, swollen feetUnderside of thighs compressed against chair seatUse footrest or reduce desk and chair heightHeadachesPosture, visual problems, noise, stress, glare, high work loadRearrange work area; re-direct traffic; screen filter; close blinds; shut door; vary tasks; take micropauses; smooth out work flow; reduce time on computer; eye test.Eye fatigue, temporary short sightednessVisual problems, screen too close, poor image quality, glare, screen reflections

5 Ways to Burn Calories Without Exercising!

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
You heard it! Burning calories without exercising! It is possible. And no we’re not going to ask you to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or cycle to work instead of your car. Because you know it better than anyone else, that it just won’t work because in most cases it’s just not practicalSo, there’s got to be ways to burn calories, which you can actually do: Standing: As simple as that. When you stand, you’re body uses major muscle groups to actually allow you to stand- From your legs, to your core and other supporting muscles. As compared to when you sit, you engage a lot more muscle simply by standing. When you engage more muscle, you burn more calories. So, try to do more things standing. And reduce your sitting. You already know that you use less muscle when you sit. Research shows that sitting for extended periods of time leads to slower metabolism, and it releases hormones that negatively affect your health. So, whenever you can stand up. Do your phone calls standing, walk around if you can. If you take the metro/bus, try standing. Many people have standing desks. Basically, figure out a way to sit less.Sit Tall: While we all know that sitting is not good for health, the reality is that sometimes you can’t really stand. It could be in a meeting, at dinner or other places. What you can do (Rather, you should anyway be doing) is sitting tall. When you sit tall, you engage your core muscle to support your upper body. When you slouch, you put a lot of strain of your back muscles. Again, it’s the same concept. The more muscle you engage the more calories you burn. So, sit up straight, tighten those stomach muscles, keep your shoulders back and keep your metabolism higher.Get some sun: Research shows a clear relationship between lower vitamin D levels and increased weight. And some estimates claim that most urban Indians are deficient in Vitamin D. Experts say that you could eat more foods like dairy that contain Vitamin D, but the best way to get Vitamin D is from sunlight. And from significant skin exposure to the sun, like 10 min of early morning sun in your swimsuit.Pets & Kids: Pets and kids are a great way to help you burn calories. Take them to the park, play with them, run around with them- and burn calories at the same rate that you would in a gym. The stop-start format of running that kids play in, actually burn more calories than running at a constant speed for a while.Sleep More: Sleeping is an amazingly restorative process in your body. It helps your body physically and mentally. When you sleep more, it helps your body repair, heal and grow muscle, which increases your metabolism. And sleeping itself helps your body burn calories, as it spends energy during the internal restorative processes. When you don’t sleep enough, it makes your body crave more calories, slows your metabolic rate, and even affects your cognitive skills. So, get enough sleep, burn more calories & stay smart! If you’re thinking that you exercise, and you don’t really need to do these, you just might be wrong. Most people eat 1500-2500 calories a day. Exercise or vigorous sport for an hour can maybe burn 400-600 calories. So, to really burn calories, you need to be active through the day, and it is the calorie burn from these small activities through the day that really matters!

"Exercise" While Sitting at Your Computer

Dt. Itu Chhabra, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Being glued to your desk while typing away at your computer for an average of 8-10 hours a day may be a part of your normal routine. However, sitting at the computer all day may not exactly be good for the body, as it can bring about backaches due to poor posture and eye strain. The lack of activity (sedentary lifestyle) can also lead to additional weight gain and increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, among other effects.On the other hand, being in a desk job does not have to be an ordeal for your health. If you are one of those people who have to be at a desk all day long, there are some simple steps that you can follow in order to improve your posture and keep your health in check.1. Observe the proper sitting posture in a good chair that is designed for desk work. Your back should be straight, your shoulders back, and the top of your monitor should be level with your eyes. If you have to look down or up, then you need to adjust the height of your screen. Also, make sure that your wrists do not lie on the keyboard or on the mouse pad (unless you have a pad with a wrist rest). This will help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Keep your legs bent at the knees so that the knees are only slightly higher than your hips. Feet should be flat on the floor or on a step stool of some sort.2. Do simple stretching exercises. Stretch your arms, legs, neck and torso while sitting. This will help prevent you from feeling stiff.Neck: To stretch your neck, flex your head forward/backward, side to side and look right and left. This can be done almost anytime to lessen tension and strain. Never roll your head around your neck. This could cause damage to the joints of the neck.Shoulders: Roll your shoulders forward around 10 times, then backward. This helps release the tension off your shoulders.Arms and Shoulders: A good stretch for your arms and shoulders is to brace your hands on the edge your desk, each about a shoulder width away from your body. Twist your hands in so they point toward your body and lean forward, hunching your shoulders. Take this a step further and push your shoulders and elbows closer to the desk.Wrists: Roll your wrists regularly, around every hour or so. Roll the wrists 10 times clockwise, then 10 times counterclockwise. This will help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome if you spend a lot of time typing.Ankles: Roll your ankles regularly. As with your wrists, roll the ankles in a clockwise motion 10 times, then counterclockwise. This helps improve blood circulation, and prevents that tingling feeling you can get when blood circulation is cut off, also known as "Pins and Needles".Chest: Notice if you tend to hunch in front of the keyboard. To counter that, perform the following exercise: open your arms wide as if you are going to hug someone, rotate your wrists externally (thumbs going up and back) and pull your shoulders back. This stretch is moving your body the opposite way to being hunched and you should feel a good stretch across your upper chest.Abdomen: Contract your abdominal and gluteal muscles, hold them there for a few seconds, then release. Repeat this for every few minutes all day long while you are working at your desk. You can also perform Kegels (pelvic floor exercises) while sitting.Calves: Stretch your calves. While sitting, lift up your legs on the balls of your feet and set them down. Repeat until your legs are comfortably tired. Repeat after about 10 minutes later, and continue doing this routine for about an hour or so. This will exercise your calves, and will help prevent blood clots from developing in your legs. Blood clots are very common among middle-aged computer users.3. Stand up every half hour to walk around a bit. This will ensure continuous blood circulation in your arms and legs, and will keep them from getting too strained. Take walks to the water station to refill your glass. If you can afford to take longer breaks, take a short walk outside your building, and use the stairs instead of the elevator to go down. Aside from giving your legs and heart a good workout, you would be able to take in fresh air as well.4. Give your eyes a break from focusing on your screen. Every 30 minutes or so, shift your focus from the computer screen and scan around other subjects in the room, such as a window, clock, desk, or door. This helps promote eye movement and lessens chances of eye irritation and headaches. Another technique to relax your eyes would be to rub your hands together, then place your cupped hands over your eyes.5. Take advantage of the downtime created by rebooting or large file downloads. Get up and take short walks around your floor. If you can afford to do it and do not have many co-workers around who would be bothered, try something more ambitious such as doing a few push-ups, sit-ups, and/or jumping jacks.6. Do exercises with the help of a few tools:Acquire a hand gripper. They are cheap, small and light. When you have to read something either on the screen or on paper, you probably won't be needing to use your hands very often, so use this opportunity squeeze your gripper. It is an excellent forearm workout.Acquire an elastic band (also cheap, small and light) and use it to do the actions mentioned above (i.e., when stretching your arms, do it by pulling apart the elastic band). This will stretch and work the muscles slightly.Invest in a large size stability ball or stability ball-style desk chair, and sit on it with back straight and abs firm. You burn calories stabilizing your core and body on the ball. While an actual stability ball is more effective, the chair is a more viable option to use in an office environment. While sitting or talking on the phone, you can bounce or do basic toning exercises. Use the actual ball form in moderation when typing, as this is probably not the most supportive seating to prevent carpal tunnel and tendinitis.7. Take a few deep breaths. To work your abdominal muscles, hold your stomach for a few seconds when breathing in, then release when breathing out. If possible, get some fresh air in your lungs by taking a walk outside, as mentioned in a previous step.8. Have a bottle of water by your side and make a habit of drinking some every half hour. If you do this consistently you will begin to feel more alert. Take trips to your water refilling station to refill your jug or glass, so that you can also walk around and exercise your legs at the same time.9. Find opportunities to move by conducting a walking meeting, taking the stairs when available, walking to another office instead of calling or emailing, walking around your building during lunch. 

Is Sitting Increasing Your Heart Risk?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
A sedentary lifestyle may increase the risk of diseases like diabetes and heart problems. It is really important to do some moderate to intense physical activity everyday. Physical workout in the form of exercise is very beneficial for all ages. It releases good hormones and helps to reduce stress, which is also responsible for lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart problems and obesity.According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart failure affects over 5 million people in the US, where it contributes to around 1 in 9 deaths and costs the nation an estimated $32 billion a year.According to new research published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure says –“Sitting for long periods increases heart failure risk in men, even for those who exercise regularly”The question that arises is that how does sitting increase the risk for heart failure. The reason given by Prof. Sara Rosenkranz is that when we sit for a long time, the muscle contraction activity lowers, due to which a molecule called lipoprotein lipase or LPL, shuts down. LPL converts fat into energy, for use by the body. She also explains that "We're basically telling our bodies to shut down the processes that help to stimulate metabolism throughout the day and that is not good. Just by breaking up your sedentary time, we can actually regulate that process in the body."One way to avoid prolonged sitting during the workday is to switch to a standing desk. An easier, no-cost solution is to set your smartphone timer to go off every 30 to 60 minutes during the day. When the alarm rings, “Stretch and move around the office to avoid any prolonged sitting,” Dr. Manson recommends.So, along with exercise, it is really important to also spend some time standing. Also, when we are sitting, we tend to eat more unnecessarily and even binge. Make it a point, whether you are at the workplace or at home, to spare some time in between to get up and walk around or at least do some light stretches.

5 Ways to Get Your Share of Exercise During Work Hours

Ms. Akshata Dorkadi, Physiotherapist
These days it seems important to log in long hours after idle hour with your buttocks glued to your chairs. Using the old “no-time-to-exercise” excuse is becoming a trend more than ever. Even short bouts of cardio, stretching and strength exercises in your office can help improve your fitness and health. We cannot promise a six packs abs with it, but this can surely get rid of your pain, improve your strength and burn a few extra calories. We have some sneaky exercises to a healthier and a happier work day. CardioBurn Calories not electricity!The Stair Master:Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Feel the real leg burn. If you work on the 8th floor and never ever taken the stairs, start with walking up 3 floors and take the elevator from there. Add in one more floor each week as a treat for completing the task. Slog and Jog:Instead of slogging for hours nonstop, take a mini break and jog on the spot. Pop up from the chair to admire the butt print on the chair, and jog at your desk. Want to huff and puff a little more, lift those knees closer to the chest. Do it for a minute and get back to slogging.The Wandering employee:Walking during working is underrated. Instead of dialling extensions and writing lousy emails, walk up to the cubicle of your co-worker and see the importance you get from them!Sneak into the Conference room:If you find your conference room to be empty, walk in through the doors like you own it. Stroll as fast as you can through the room. Make sure you keep changing direction around the conference table to avoid any hip pain.The Unauthorized Office ChairThe chair Swivel:Use your desk chair to swivel with your oblique abs. sit upright, let your feet hover over the floor. Hold the armrests firmly. Use your core to swivel the chair from side to side. Swish back and forth for 10 rounds. The “Weeee” desk chair:Everyone likes to play with their desk chair. While seated in the chair, position yourself at a one arm distance from your desk. Raise your feet slightly off the ground and hold onto your desk. Pull yourself towards the desk and push yourself back. Repeat 10 times or until you burn holes into the carpet.The desk squat:Start standing with your feet apart. Pretend as if you are sitting on your chair and getting back to business. Bend your knees slightly and the thighs are parallel to the ground. Touch your buttocks to the seat of the chair and push yourself back up. Repeat 10  times.Under the wrapsThe silent Butt squeeze:start toning your booty. Simply squeeze your buttocks, hold for 10-15 seconds and release. Repeat until they tire. The Kegels:Women can do Kegels. Tightening, holding and then relaxing the pelvic floor muscles (the muscles that control the flow of your urine every time you want to rush to the little ladies room).The Ab squeeze:Another silent deskercise, this one can be covertly be executed when walking down the hall or seated during a call. Simply take a deep breath and tighten the abdominal muscles, bringing them in towards the spine as you exhale. Stay squeezed for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat for 12-15 reps.Be the Mr Deskercise guy instead of Mr FormalMr. DeskerciseTouch your toes:The old touch-your-toes are a great stretch for your legs. Pop-up of the chair put one leg on your chair and bend to touch your toes. I-do-not-know:Remember when you are irritated and you want to say, “ I do not know what the hell is going on around here!” Do the same. Shrug. Bring your shoulders close to your ears. Repeat it 10 times and get back to your screen.Reach for the sky:Sitting tall in your chair, stretch both your arms over your head and reach for the sky. Hold it for 10 seconds and do it again.The chair yogi:Sit facing forward, turn your head to the left and torso to the right. Feel the stretch and do it on the other side. Repeat.Drop a pen:What should you do if one of your coworkers finds you two feet away from your desk , stretched out, staring at the floor? You can pretend you dropped a pen. But it’s better to say, “Feels awesome. Try it!”The Fun Lunch TimeThe Wall Street Squats:When everyone has left for lunch, it's squat time! Stand against a wall, drag your back down while bending your knees till your thighs are parallel to the floor. Squeeze your buttocks and come back up. Repeat 15 times and head for lunch.Desk Push Ups:Lay hands on your desk. Incline your body in relation to the floor. Do 10 push ups. If you’re worried about getting sweaty during work – don’t! Doing five or even ten push-ups at a time is not going to make you sweat.Go for a 20 min walk post lunch:Go for a 20 min walk break after your lunch with your colleagues. Laugh. Praise. Share. Live. Make your workplace fun than boring. Try these fun bursts of a workout either by yourself or with few of your colleagues.