Most of us sit for hours a day at a computer screen. Blinking tiredly into the blue tint of the screen, straining our eyes to read dozens of emails. Rarely leaving our desks unless to grab another caffeine hit or take a bathroom break.
In fact, many of us will even scoff their lunch over the keyboard, desperate to make a deadline. Until off we finally slope at 6pm, hitting the long commute before arriving home and slumping in front of the TV.
It must come as no surprise then, that sitting for over 6 hours a day has a terrible impact on our health, both physically and mentally. Not to mention using computers and being surrounded by our fellow colleagues.
Regency for expats rounds up the surprising ways your desk job is harming your health. But don´t worry, we have some suggestions to help too.
Do you sit at a desk?
If you sit at a desk all day, your heart rate will significantly lower throughout the day. This can lead to a build up of fat surrounding our heart muscle. Plus, we tend to reach for unhealthy foods when we´re sedentary which is no good for our waistlines. In fact, as we stop moving our main muscles, we also stop processing glucose which leads to a build up of fat around our middle.
The more we sit the more our body will suffer. We will lose strength in key areas of our body such as core and glutes, which puts more pressure on our bones and negatively affects our posture.
Are you enduring long days?
Being tied to your work for over 10 hours a day raises your risk of cardiovascular problems by 60 per cent, according to studies. Added to this, being awake longer tends to lead to poor sleep quality, fewer hours of shut-eye and daytime fatigue.
Another study has shown that working for over 40 hours a week makes you more likely to hit the bottle and consume “risky” amounts of alcohol. And excessive drinking is never healthy.
Are you sat at a computer?
No doubt if you´re sat in an office, you´re working on a computer. This will have numerous implication on health.
Staring up at a screen puts considerable strain on our retinas, decreasing eyesight by as much as 40 per cent. Not only this, but those who suffer with headaches and migraines might feel their condition aggravated with long hours and considerable screen time.
Keeping your mouse in the same spot increases risk of repetitive strain injury. This is caused when the tendons are strained for long periods of time; being forced into one position or pushed into a repetitive movement.
Is your commute crazy?
If your office job involves a daily commute, chances are this is impacting your health too. Studies have shown that long commutes can lead to high cholesterol, increased chance of depression and poor sleep quality.
Do you share a workspace?
The recent trend to open plan offices is wrecking our immune systems. A Danish study found that as the number of people in a room increased, so did the number of sick days. People who work in fully open offices were out sick 62% more than their cubed counterparts, thanks to the exposure to germs.
Are you attached to a smartphone?
If you find yourself surgically attached to your smartphone, you might want to reconsider how often you use it to write emails and texts. Those attached to their work phones are more likely to suffer from muscle fatigue and “iPhone Thumb” a newly coined phrase for a type of repetitive strain injury, causing pain up to the wrist and possibly later arthritis.
Beat the desk job health risks with these 5 tweaks to your lifestyle:
- Stand wherever possible. Ok, not so easy when you´re in an open plan office, everyone sat at their PCs, but consider walking meetings, standing to talk on the phone and walking to lunch.
- If you´re working from home, take the workout to your desk and sit on an exercise ball to engage your core.
- Take care of your eyes by resting them every 30 minutes. Look into the distance and relax your eyes for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Keep up 30 minutes of cardio, 4-5 times a week to strengthen muscles and workout your heart muscles.
- Switch off. Ensure that when you get home, you can completely switch off from work. Turn off your smartphone and relax without a screen in front of you.
Regency for Expats is on hand to keep workers around the globe in the best health, should they fall sick. We have a wide range of healthcare benefits, 24-hour multilingual claims service and you can get a quote in less that 10 minutes.