Health Risks of an Office Job

Published: 07th July 2010
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People today dream of working at a desk job. Not having to do much physical activity seems to be the ideal workday. However, there are health hazards that come sitting all day and remaining at a sedentary state most of the day. Thankfully, there are things one can do to help, but it will take effort and determination.



Our bodies were made to move and there's no way to get around that simple fact. Our bodies become sedentary and relaxed, both inside and out when we don't move enough. The organs stop working as efficiently and yet, we expect things to function as usual. Because the muscles are not moving as they should, our metabolism slows down and this affects our digestion, kidneys, liver, glands, heart and blood. The systems of our bodies become sluggish and don't function up to their full potential. This makes us tired and lethargic, barely able to make it through some days.



Of course, along with this slowing down of our systems, we have the tendency to gain weight. There are many reasons for this, considering that the body is not being used as it should. First of all, there is the simple fact that not as many calories are being burned because of the sedentary workday. We don't burn much fat walking to the water cooler, sitting in on conferences, chatting with co-workers, typing or making copies. So, fat accumulates and people are often surprised at how they quickly put on extra weight by eating the donuts, vending machine snacks and catered meals. The other problem is the lack of quality of most office food. With weight gain comes the risks of diabetes, heart trouble, and many other problems, including new aches and pains and lack of endurance.



In addition to these things, people are often surprised at the pain they experience after working at an office job for years on end. Of course, every job has risks, but people don't usually expect these types of problems at the office. One of these problems is back pain. When one sits for hours at work, most of their weight is on their lower back, which will eventually feel the strain of that constant weight. This can cause disc trouble and strain on the muscles in the lower back.



People also experience neck trouble while working at the office. Because we sit and stare at a computer screen for much of the day, without moving the head very much, this type of pain sneaks up on us and before we know it, we have a very sore neck. Not moving the neck at all, but forcing it to remain in a stationery position will eventually cause the neck to become sore, achy and even tingly from the nerves being irritated or pinched.



There are also untold problems with the hands and wrists from office jobs. Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and trigger fingers are a few of the more common problems with the hands and wrists. Carpal tunnel syndrome will make it difficult to form a fist and cause numbness in the index fingers and thumb. Trigger fingers develop from inflammation to the covering of the tendons, creating an involuntary trigger-releasing motion in the hand. Tendonitis causes swelling in the tendons and extreme pain.



Although this may paint a very bleak picture, don't be discouraged! If you are already experiencing some of these problems, there are things that you can do to help yourself. If you have not yet experienced any of these problems, there are things you can do to prevent them from ever occurring.



First of all, it is important to invest in some sound ergonomic office products to help keep your body in as good as shape as possible. Secondly, get moving! Don't accept the fact that you are too old or too fat or in too bad of shape. Start slowly and begin to get the blood circulating again. Move your muscles gently throughout the day, stretching them to keep them useful and resilient. Stand up periodically and stretch your back very gently. In order to prevent your neck, hands and wrist from being locked in one position, move them gently throughout the day in simple stretches. If necessary, set a timer so you will remember to get up and do some stretching or walking.



Look for an enjoyable physical activity that you can do after hours. Walking is a great way to get and stay in shape. Join a club, find a partner to exercise with, and fit it into your schedule. Of course, you should always consult your physician before making any major changes in your lifestyle.



You can work at the office, take active breaks, eat healthy food and avoid many of the problems we have discussed. If you do develop one or more of these health issues, you can easily find the solution and get back on track. Don't let your office job steal your health, but use simple ergonomic solutions and common sense to keep you healthy.





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