After just 5 years' of office work, the effects of sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day, slouching & stressing out were remarkable.
My attachment to chairs and tables began at Uni, however. My 'office' was the kitchen table with a pine dining chair (not exactly ergonomic), where I would spend 10+ hours staring at a textbook, copying bits out and attempting to summarise the un-summarisable. It wasn't exactly filled with joy and I strongly remember the boredom, which soon equalled quite impressive slouching.
After three years of this, I moved to a 'proper' desk set up. Adjustable chair, correct height table and screen, to the standard of most companies in the UK. I did a lot of exercise around it (cycling 100+ miles per week, along with 2-3 gym sessions). At this time, I felt nothing from it - I was 21 and always entangled myself in quite extraordinary sitting positions on the chair. I slouched for hours, but still felt nothing - I could get away with this!
Fast forward two jobs, four years, several desk set ups, online health & safety questionnaires, criticism of colleagues for my slouching and I was in pain. Genuinely, my neck and shoulders hurt, also my right hip every day. I would fix one thing and another would shoot out again.
I remember being on the phone to the BUPA Physio team after my neck froze up AGAIN (that thing where you wake up and you can't move) and they basically said 'it's due to sitting down too much'. They were a brilliant team, but there's only so much they can do over the phone. My hip/bum pain dragged out for a year until I got smart and started to fix it.
There was a bit of half-arsed stretching, followed by 'it's always going to be like this' and giving up again. But that was a whole year, and it didn't get better, it got worse!
So, you don't need to sit for 30 years to have problems arise - at 23, I had them. I tried ignoring them and it didn't work. If something isn't working for you, then something needs to change.
Now, I'm 25 and a long long way away from where I used to be. I credit a fabulous sports masseur, a brilliant chiropractor and, to be honest, myself for fixing things. I do still sit down and I do still get flare ups from time to time, but it's all about managing them, having a strategy and taking it seriously.
Avoiding pain is SO much easier than fixing it, so today, commit to doing these three things:
1) Take your lunch break and move - please don't spend it sitting at your desk.
2) Stand up for 1 minute of every hour - set an alarm on your outlook to buzz you so you don't forget. Or even better, use a fitbit or an Apple watch as a reminder.
3) Get yourself into a regular exercise routine - it doesn't mean that sitting will never affect you, but it goes a long way to help minimise the effects.
If you need some help with number three, check this out:
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