The Most Valuable Tips For Cubicle Dwellers

More than 40 million people in North America sit in transit daily only to sit another eight or more hours in a cubicle. It is my professional opinion that this is one of the biggest burdens on our health as a nation. Obviously fast food, inactivity, over medication, smoking, drinking and poor genetics contribute to our nations health woes but the “cube life” not only contributes but arguably encourages some of these other behaviors. Although many companies are now allowing their employees to telecommute a couple of days a week, companies don’t appear to be abandoning the cubicle workplace any time soon.

As a chiropractic physician I see the negative effects of cube life in my office daily; as a matter of fact, most of the patients in my office work in a cubicle rather than blue-collar labor. You may be wondering why working in a controlled environment like a cubicle could be physically detrimental to an individual, so I will attempt to explain it in simple terms.

Simply put, as our technology has advanced our work environment has changed, however, our bodies have not evolved in the same fashion. We, as human beings are physically designed to work PHYSICALLY. We are still designed to perform as agrarians…plow fields, hunt and gather. All of the systems in our bodies work on a pump system: our heart pumps blood, lungs pump air; lymph system pumps our waste, etc. Sedentary work as you find in a cubicle does not activate or promote the use of these pumps.

With all of this said, there are some simple tips I would suggest you follow which may retard or even prevent the chronic conditions that a sedentary job typically leads to:

  1. GET UP!!!! As discussed above, sitting for hours on end is not healthy. Set a timer and get up and out of your chair every 20 minutes and move. This does not mean you have to leave your workstation or get off of that important conference call. Simply stand up and march in place wave your arms and roll your neck. Waiting until you hurt and burn from sitting too long before getting up is like waiting for your engine light in you car to light up before you change your oil…ITS TOO LATE!
  2. Use your brake time to move. Get a group or at least one “buddy” to go on a walk or find some form of low impact to exercise to engage in on what others may use as their smoke break.
  3. Walk, bike, swim or even engage in a sport, anything active helps. My best advice is finding something you enjoy to do because if you don’t then you won’t stick with it. I would suggest that you start with a minimum of three hours a week of exercise as a foundation and build from there.
  4. Implement a stretching routine that you perform at the end of each and every day. In athletics it is more important to warm up prior to competition and then stretch after. The same is true in everyday life. Stretch at the end of the day so you wake up feeling relaxed, not tight.
  5. Speak with your HR department about ergonomic specific fitting for your workstation. Many companies provide this for their employees in an effort to reduce work related illness such as carpal tunnel, headaches and low back pain.
  6. Avoid hobbies that promote a sedentary life style outside of the workplace. Working eight plus hours in a cubicle all day only to go home and play video games for several hours more is the worst case scenario.

Don’t wait for symptoms to get worse before seeking care. Reoccurring headaches, numbness in your extremities, neck and back pain that are from cube life are not going away on their own. Consult a chiropractor regarding your symptoms. Massage therapy or working with a personal trainer may be an option based on your condition as well.

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