Monday, April 7, 2014

Staying Healthy at a Desk Job


Many Americans have jobs where they sit at a desk all day and there is nothing wrong with this, but these people are susceptible to certain health risks.  These jobs can facilitate in a sedentary life style and ergonomic health issues. 

If employees work in an environment that is mostly desk-bound it is important that the office is ergonomically designed with the employees in mind.  Without proper design workers could experience back issues after sitting improperly in chairs or have chairs that can hurt their backs over time.  When sitting in chairs for a prolonged period it is important to sit up straight, have your feet flat on the floor and hands out in a comfortable position.  It is also important for employers to provide chairs that appropriate for the job.  The chairs should be adjustable so they can be fit to the correct height for each employee.  The chairs should have lower back support to prevent lower back strain.  It is also important for desks to be ergonomically designed.  Not only should the chairs be adjustable, but the desks too.  Desks should be set at the correct height for each individual worker.  They also make desks that can be adjusted instantly and can even be raised high enough for a person to stand and work.  Switching between standing and sitting can help prevent skeletal and muscle issues.  

Workers that sit at a desk have a higher chance at living an inactive lifestyle.  This lifestyle can lead to anxiety, cardiovascular disease, deep vein thrombosis, depression, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, obesity, osteoporosis, and kidney stones. People should have 150 minutes of exercise every week. Although it can be difficult to find time it is important to stay find ways to stay active throughout the day. Every so often workers should stand up, stretch, and walk around a bit.  People are supposed to walk about an average of 10,000 steps a day.  For me personally 10,000 steps is equivalent to 4.5 miles.  Taking this many steps will keep you active throughout the day.  Most people have smart phones now and there are plenty of free apps that will track your step count.  My personal favorite is Pedometer++.  I encourage you to download one and see how many steps you take a day.   

There are some other issues facing workers that work in office settings.  One is eye strain.  Focusing on a computer can be very strenuous of the eyes, so it is important to take a break from the computer every once in a while.  If your job requires you to be on the phone a lot you should have a Bluetooth headset rather than using a phone.  When using a phone you have to either hold it up with one hand or kink your neck to hold it.  Kinking your neck several times a day could become strenuous on your neck.  The height of computer screens could also be an issue that could cause strain on your neck.  If the screens are placed too high or too low you may find yourself kinking your neck up or down.  The top of the computer screen should be eye level when the worker is sitting straight up.

Millions of people work at a desk every day and it is important to keep health and safety in mind.  Maintain good posture when working and take a break every once in a while to stretch your legs and give your eyes a break.

Thank you for your time and attention! Let's make it safe this Monday!

Dale Bromenshenkel
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company