It is becoming widely know that sitting for long periods of time is detrimental to one’s health. There are countless articles pointing this out, and that is a good thing. We all sit down on a regular basis, especially those of us who use computers for the bulk of our work. Sitting lowers your metabolism and slows brain activity. By not moving major muscle groups, the flow of blood to the brain is reduced, which in turn reduces the amount of chemical released in your brain creating a foggy feeling.
How many times have you literally walked away from something only to have that light bulb moment after a few minutes? For me it is an everyday occurrence. Now, a quick look at your metabolism and sitting. Elevated blood sugar is toxic to the body’s cells, so when blood sugar levels rise, insulin is secreted, which makes the body shift from burning fat to burning sugar. When your muscles aren’t used enough, they change composition as well. Slow-twitch, fat-burning muscle tissue begins to disappear.
Ditch the Desk Chair for an Exercise Ball
Sitting on an exercise, or stability ball is a great choice when trying to counter the negative effects of sitting for a long period of time. By sitting on a exercise ball, you have to use your abdominal muscles to balance and stay seated. Sitting on an exercise ball also forces you to have more-aligned posture. Slouching on an exercise ball is difficult!
There are different sizes when it comes to an exercise ball. So, how do you know what size is right for you? Here are the common height-to-ball sizes. If you are between 4’11” and 5’4″ in height, than you will want to choose a 55 cm ball. If you are between 5’4″ and 5’11” in height, than you will want to choose a 65 cm ball. Finally, if you are between 5’11” and 6′ 7″ in height, than you will want to choose a 75 cm ball.
Another good way to determine if the ball size is right for you is to simply sit on the ball. If you are able to place your feet flat on the floor and keep your legs at a 90 degree angel than you’re good to go. An exercise ball with cost around $20.
Stretch out your Legs
Another option is to use a standing desk. These are also referred to as stand-sit desks. Some standing desks are adjustable for various standing heights, while a stand-sit desk can be set to a sitting height as well as a standing height.
Standing in one place, while better than sitting, can be stressful on the lower back and legs. Because of this, alternating between standing and sitting is the general plan of action.
There are two ways to setup up your standing or stand-sit desk. If you choose a standing desk you can pair it with a highly positioned chair. Picture a bar chair for the office. If you chose a stand-sit desk, you be able to use a regular chair or an exercise ball. With a stand-sit desk you also have to chose between a manual or motorized desk. The manual desk will have a handle to turn, which will adjust the height, while the motorized desk will have a small control panel where you can set presets for the heights.
The standing or stand-sit desks are a bit high price ranging from as low as $300 to as high as $1000. You also may want to consider a floor mat to ease pressure on the joints, which will run about $50.