Why do we feel tired after sitting for 8 hours in the office?
You’ve most likely heard loads of people talk about the negative repercussions of sitting, and honestly, it makes sense if you feel helpless, I mean, it’s your job right? Your entire livelihood depends on you being in that place, doing that work.
After 8 hours or more of sitting I’m betting that you most likely feel exhausted even though your body hasn’t done much all day. Here are 2 big reasons why you feel that way, and here’s what you can do to fix it, and yes, be better at your job.
1. The less you do the less your brain wants you to do, but movement can change that on a chemical level!
I’m inherently a lazy person, apparently we can blame a bit of that on our genetics and the inherent human instinct we all have to preserve energy for survival. That’s not a very helpful trait when you’re feeling like you want to start a new movement regime or when your doctor has said your back pain will be reduced if you just get out and move a bit more.
The bottom line on a chemical level is that exercise releases dopamine and other endorphines (happy hormones) that in turn positively reinforce your brain’s ability to keep you motivated… there are studies that suggest some of our brain chemistry’s are different, predisposing some people to that go-getter mentality and others less so, it basically comes down to how much dopamine you naturally produce.
Now that’s no reason to make excuses, but it does explain why it’s so hard to get your butt moving. When I had a corporate job I would sometimes sit for 8 hours straight and not move, the less I did, the less I wanted to do.
Talk about mega dopamine deficit, now that I do Pilates and other movement at least 4 times a week, I struggle to sit still for longer than 20 minutes.
Movement allows our endocrine system to produce dopamine and dopamine keeps us motivated to move, it’s like a positive cycle that keeps on giving and will 100% for sure improve your focus and productivity when you’re back at your desk.
I know what you’re thinking, sugar and caffeine will give me the boost I need, stop that thought right now. Just stop it. You know better!
2. Doing nothing makes you tired
It seems like a bit of a mystery but it’s really not. There are a few reasons why sitting makes you tired here’s the tip of the iceberg;
seems obvious yes, artificial light isn’t the same as natural light. Vitamin D from sun exposure helps the body absorb calcium, it’s one of it’s most important jobs in the body. Calcium is super important for bone growth (yep your bones break down and rebuild all the time just like other connective tissues). This is important for bone density and will reduce your likelihood of acquiring arthritis. Hack – eat lunch outside!
staying seated puts pressure on your lungs causing shallower breathing and puts pressure onto the internal organs, it squishes your veins and arteries (especially to your legs) because you’re literally sitting on them, reducing blood flow and therefore reducing oxygen delivery to all the cells in your body.
It’s like mild muscle strangulation, I know that sounds really harsh but it’s true. This links in to the first point where we spoke about alertness an motivation, the less you move the less oxygen you have going around the body, the less productive you’re going to be.
Hack – move every 30 mins and join a 45 minute Pilates class at lunch.
I’m not going to write reams here but office air is full of bacteria, mould, not to mention exposure to photocopiers and printers (if their filters aren’t changed can result in damaging ozone exposure). Hack – get some fresh air at lunch as you go for a walk
So the point of this wasn’t to freak you out but rather to give you some hacks to get your brain firing up, get your productivity higher and heck, maybe bring you closer to that promotion at work.
Ultimately, if you’re working in Dublin city centre you really should check out our lunch time, early morning or evening Pilates classes in Leeson street, we have corporate rates and some epic instructors that will keep you challenged and inspired, the dopamine booster is 100% guaranteed!