Although you’re not performing stressful physical work, spending time sitting in a desk at your office can put a tremendous strain on your body.
When you do the math, the amount of time we spend sitting at a desk equals at least 40 hours per week, 160 hours per month, and 1,920 hours per year!
Sitting at a desk in the same position for that long, especially if your desk and chair are not the right size, may lead to certain disorders such as poor circulation, bad posture, and a sore lower back. But using simple devices like foot support can alleviate the discomfort and physical stress that sitting at a desk puts on our bodies.
Related Post: The Best Under-Desk Footrests for Office and Home
1. Better Posture
If you spend a long time sitting in one position, regardless of whether it’s at work, in a car, or when you’re traveling, you may often find that you feel stiff and achy when you get up. And if you spend a long time sitting in that same position, the effects may be magnified.
With all the time we spend sitting at the office, and especially while typing at a computer, our posture can start to suffer. However, a footrest can help.
If you have a back impairment or if you feel areas of pressure in your back, consider using an ergonomic footrest, which comes in both stationary and rocking designs. Ideally, you should focus on having a good posture, which includes keeping your hips above knee level, sitting up straight, and moving your feet around.
2. Improved Circulation
There is no need to stand up and constantly roam around the office, but you can (and should) keep moving around while sitting at your desk. One of the simplest ways to do this is by using ergonomic foot support, which improves circulation and reduces your chance of having circulatory and cardiovascular problems.
Along with using a footrest for motion, make a conscious effort to keep up a better posture by adjusting your position at your desk on a regular basis. Along with moving around periodically at your desk, try standing up for at least 10 minutes and stretch out. You can also try getting a standing desk, which gives you the advantage of standing and stretching when necessary without interrupting your workflow.
3. Fewer Back Problems
Backaches and other back impairments represent one of the most common complaints among office workers. Disorders of the spine can be exacerbated by sitting for too long or sitting incorrectly at an office desk. They can also be caused by sitting in a poorly-fitting chair or working at an uncomfortable desk.
Propping your feet up, however, can keep you from slouching.
It also relieves pressure from your spine, which in turn alleviates back problems. When sitting, you should try to lean back slightly. Doing so reduces strain on the muscles around your spine and lumbar discs.
4. Tension Relief for Your Feet
Another advantage of footrests is their ability to keep your feet in a neutral position. This is especially true for women who may wear shoes with different size heels from one day to the next, such as high heels, sandals, or boots. Walking around in shoes of this height discrepancy and keeping your feet flat on the floor all day can strain the muscles and tendons in your feet, including the Achilles tendon.
In turn, this can lead to foot pain and other foot problems. But keeping feet properly supported with footrests can make a tremendous difference in the health of your feet.
5. Less Pressure on Your Legs
Sometimes, even sitting on an ergonomic chair is not enough to reduce aches and pains associated with office work. You might still find that you get aches and pains throughout the day that are only lessened when you stand up.
Using an ergonomic footrest, however, allows you to remain seated for a longer period of time without discomfort. On especially busy days when you can’t get up for a while or during a long conference call, this type of support system for your body really comes in handy.
6. Natural Relaxation
If you tend to tense up when you’re stressed, or if you are naturally fidgety, have the ability to roll your feet around can be a tremendous source of stress and anxiety relief. Moving your feet even just a little bit can ease tensions and reduce your blood pressure levels. Instead of dealing with nervous energy, you’ll be in a better position to be more effective and productive at work if you have the ability to channel your energy into other outlets.
Creating an Ergonomic Office
Along with just having a place to rest your feet, our entire bodies – and minds – will benefit from having additional ergonomic devices in the office.
One of the best ways to start building a healthier office is by getting a standing desk. Standing desks are a great way to get up and move around a little bit during the day without sacrificing productivity.
Studies have shown that prolonged sitting has negative health consequences, such as an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Standing desks can also help you manage weight too, as standing burns more calories than staying seated. In fact, standing for the same amount of time that you would otherwise be seated can burn up to 150 more calories! If you’re trying to lose weight or if you can’t always find time to exercise during the day, this is an especially appealing component.
Week after week, month after month, and year after year, sitting in the same position at work and using furniture that’s not designed for movement or support can take a toll on our physical health.
Being in constant pain and discomfort can also make us unhappy and less productive during the day. But by finding the right office chair, support for your feet, and standing work desk can significantly aid in relieving tension, pain, and even managing weight.
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- Karakolis T, Callaghan JP. The impact of sit-stand office workstations on worker discomfort and productivity: A review. Applied Ergonomics. 2014;45:799–806.
This article was reviewed and approved by Dr. Marija Petkovic.
After suffering from many injuries and pains throughout years, Nick started Painless Movement with the hope of helping others discover ways to live a healthier, happier, and pain-free lives. Although not a doctor or physiotherapist, Nick uses personal trial and error and anecdotal experiences to learn about the body and hopefully provide useful information for others who suffer from similar health issues.