Desk work hardly seems like the most dangerous occupation in the world, but it can pose many long-term health dangers. The combination of sitting down for long periods, being indoors, and doing repetitive actions can lead to a number of illnesses and injuries. Here are a few problems to look out for and how to relieve/prevent them:
Sitting down for extended periods of time increases your risk of developing circulatory problems. Your blood may not flow as freely around certain parts of the body such as the hands and feet, causing it to pool up. This can lead to blood clots, varicose veins, a stroke, or even a heart attack.
If you regularly experience numbness, tingling, or cramps in the hands and feet, it could be a sign that you’re experiencing circulatory problems. Red dark blotches are also a key sign. Compression socks and clot-dissolving drugs may be able to ease discomfort and return circulation to normal, but the best solution and prevention method is to be more physically active. You could opt for a standing desk or you could simply make it a routine to get up every hour for five minutes. Deskercises may also help.
Lack of physical activity can also lead to weight gain – if you’re not being active, you’re not burning calories. Being overweight can increase your risk of everything from diabetes to heart disease.
The obvious solution to this, as with circulatory problems, is to be more active during the day. You could also plan exercise for before or after work, as well as trying to be more active at the weekend. Changing your diet could also be necessary (you may be able to keep up a sedentary lifestyle and not gain weight simply by eating healthily).
A lot of people working desk jobs experience lower back pain. This is usually from craning over a desk for long periods, which causes stress on the spine.
When it comes to relieving discomfort, there are many new lower back relief products and herbal remedies that you can try. Procedures like massages and acupuncture may also help. Improving your sitting posture could meanwhile stop your back pain from getting worse. Try to ensure that your back is straight – lowering your chair or raising your monitor could prevent you from leaning forward.
Sick building syndrome:
Being indoors all day isn’t good for us. As well as the lack of sunlight, being surrounded by dusty air and other people’s bacteria can result in nausea and respiratory issues. This is sometimes known as sick building syndrome.
Good ventilation and regular cleaning could make for a healthier indoor environment. Meanwhile, going outside on your lunch break could get you some fresh air during the day, which could help to clear out your lungs.
Repetitive strain injury:
Typing on a keyboard for long periods of time can sometimes lead to an RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury). The wrists and knuckles may start to cramp up and in severe cases this could lead to permanent pain.
Having your keyboard in the right position may prevent an RSI from occurring. Ideally, the keyboard should be directly in front of you and your elbows should be at the same height so that your forearms are horizontal when typing.
Use the tips above if your desk job is giving you grief and, as always, visit your doctor about your concerns, too!
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