Your Job isn’t killing you, your chair is!

Most people have worked multiple jobs by the time they’re 25. I, myself, have had my fair share of long hours and small paycheques, from your middle school paper route, to the typical gig as a sales associate or a coffee barista. Even though these jobs were exhausting in their own way, they at least kept me active during the work day.

About two years ago, when I moved to Ottawa to pursue my second degree, I began applying for jobs beyond the realm of retail. A few months, and 100+ applications later, I got my first job as a public servant — a great opportunity for me, but one that my back wouldn’t thank me for.

Great job, great pay, and great pain

As much as I love my job, I started noticing that even though I was sitting all day, I’d actually be more tired by the end of the day than I had been at the end of a retail shift. This new desk job wasn’t stimulating my body at all because I was sitting for such long periods of time. I started feeling some back and muscle pain at the end of each of my eight-hour shifts. The pain eventually got so sharp that I had to go see a chiropractor.

Well Doctor, what’s the problem?

Initially, I thought that my back pain had something to do with my bed or the way that I slept. After a few tests and several answered questions, the Chiro explained to me that sitting down repetitively for long time frames, as well as bad posture were actually causing the strain on my body. He encouraged me to leave my desk every now and then and to go for a walk during my break.

Repetitive exercise, the miracle worker 

Almost everyone finds it difficult to fit in the amount of exercise they’d like to be doing every day. The walks my chiropractor suggested are great, but I’ve outlined some more, easy ways you can get exercise in at work:

Always keep a pair of runners under your desk.

To keep your body moving, I recommend walking around the office for about 10 minutes, 3 times a day. Seize the opportunity to go visit those colleagues you wish you saw more of.

If you’re looking a challenge, and you happen to have a staircase at work, lace up your runners and try walking/running up and down the stairs for 5-6 minutes twice a day. It will elevate your heart rate and it’s a great way to trade in that midday doughnut for some exercise!

If you don’t enjoy running, walking, or talking to your co-workers (it happens), you can always buy a stress ball and stretch up in your cubicle. Whatever your preference, find a way to get moving — your body will thank you.