Sitting for long periods of time can be bad for your health. Having a desk job forces people to be sedentary for the majority of their day. The lack of movement throughout the day contributes negatively to overall health and increases the risk of blood clots, heart disease, and obesity, among other issues. Having a desk job can damage your back as well.

It’s common for people to hunch over to see a computer screen – especially if your computer is a laptop – or sit leaning forward in their chairs over their work. When you combine these negative postures with a non-ergonomically designed chair and a lack of movement in general throughout the day, you could be harming your back without even realizing it.

How to Prevent These Issues

There are a number of things that you can do to prevent back problems from occurring. If possible, set your desk up in such a way that you don’t have to stretch or strain unnaturally to reach your computer, files, or other essential work . If you have a laptop computer, consider putting it on a stand so that the screen is at eye level. There are angled stands that place the keyboard portion of your computer in a more comfortable position for your hands. And, most importantly for your back, an ergonomic chair, combined with optimal sitting posture, will do a lot to prevent undue strain and future issues.

Stretch it Out

Even if you can’t update your office to make it more comfortable, there are stretches that you can do to help your back. Make sure to get up at regular intervals and walk around the office or take a lap around the block. This prevents you from spending all day in the same position, gets the muscles moving, and your blood flowing. To keep from slouching and slumping at your desk, get in the habit of sitting with your back as straight as possible, keeping your shoulders back and your feet flat on the floor. Finally, completing a series of simple back exercises and stretches while at your desk or during your down time at home will strengthen your back muscles and make it less likely that you’ll hurt your back while at work.