Sitting side effect: neck pain
Craning your neck to read a computer screen can strain your spine. Keeping your head 30 degrees in front of your body requires three to four times more muscle than holding it straight, says chiropractor Scott Bautch. Fight it: position your computer so the middle of the screen is level with your chin, which will encourage you to keep your neck in a neutral position, Bautch says. If centring it isn’t realistic, improve your posture by elevating your computer or TV rather than positioning it so you have to look down. Turning up the brightness could also help if you find yourself straining to see the screen, Bautch says.
Sitting side effect: lack of concentration
Sitting down restricts blood flow and keeps oxygen from reaching your brain, leaving you foggy-brained and unable to concentrate. Fight it: trying to save time by doing all your away-from-desk tasks at once could actually work against you. “You’re actually more efficient if you move than if you don’t move,” Bautch says. Break up your day by delivering a package to a colleague at one point, then getting up later to make copies rather than saving both tasks for the same trip, he says.
Sitting side effect: depression
Middle-aged women who sit for more than seven hours a day are more likely to report signs of depression than those who sit four or less hours daily, according to a study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. Fight it: spend some time in nature. People who took a 90-minute walk in a natural setting were less likely to ruminate on negative emotions than those who strolled in an urban setting, found a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dwelling too much on those negative thoughts can increase risk for depression and other mental illnesses, the researchers report.