You go to work and do your best every day. While your desk job supports a family or helps secure your future, it could be putting your health at risk.
Spending much of your day sitting can lead to the development of poor habits, increased stress, weight gain, disease and more.
However, you can make small choices each day to be more active at the office, and lower the possibility of obesity and illness. Let’s look at the physical dangers of a desk job.
Sitting for extended periods of time can promote poor posture. We crane our neck toward a keyboard, shrug our shoulders to see a screen, and slouch (which disengages abdominal and hip muscles, and exaggerates our back’s natural arch) — all poor habits that lead to imbalances in the spine.
Sitting also prohibits the spine’s soft discs to expand and contract, which causes herniated discs and lumbar injury.
Lack of movement slows down the body’s metabolism and fat-burning ability, which can result in weight gain. Weight gain can lead to diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
Studies have linked sitting with a higher risk of breast, colon and uterine cancers. While the exact reasons have yet to be pinpointed, researchers think that remaining sedentary increases insulin levels, which encourage cell growth. Another theory is that regular movement boosts antioxidants in the body and kills cancer-causing free radicals.
Research shows that sitting for more than eight hours slows blood circulation dramatically, which causes fluid to pool in the legs. Poor circulation can lead to swollen ankles and feet, dangerous blood clots and varicose veins.
Physical activity pumps fresh blood and oxygen through your brain to keep it firing and functioning properly. When your body doesn’t keep moving, everything slows down, including brain function. A foggy brain can decrease decision making and increase your chances for dementia, anxiety and depression.
Don’t quit your job just yet. Making simple changes to your daily routine can radically improve your health and prevent deterioration.
Take a break from sitting every 30 minutes — walk to the water fountain, take a stroll around the building or simply stand and stretch.
If you have a laptop, stand at a high counter or table — or try a standing desk. Request walking meetings with co-workers instead of gathering in a conference room. Set a timer and re-adjust your posture every hour.
Try to hold a straight back and neck for 30 seconds.
Use desk exercise equipment such as an exercise ball or under desk bicycle.
Grab your cubicle mate and engage in desk exercises to stretch hip flexors or desk yoga to elongate your back. In short, keep moving for a long, healthy life and career.