Most people wouldn’t include “office worker” in a list of dangerous occupations. However, research suggests that sitting and remaining in the same position for extended periods can have seriously detrimental effects on a person’s health and well-being. Sitting at a desk for too long has been linked to chronic pain, obesity, various injuries to the neck, back, and spine, and even cardiovascular disorders.
If you do most of your work at a desk, it’s worth sitting up and paying attention to how it’s affecting your body now. Below are a few simple measures you can take to ease your desk job’s impact on your health:
Wear Compression Socks
Sitting down for lengthy periods slows the flow of blood throughout the body. This position can also cause blood to pool in the lower extremities, leading to swollen ankles and varicose veins.
Compression socks are a special type of hosiery that prevents and protects against venous disorders that can be caused by prolonged sitting. These socks employ stronger elastics than the ones used in conventional athletic or dress socks to create pressure on the legs, promoting blood circulation even while one is seated. Besides keeping the legs from feeling tired, compression socks can also ease swelling in the ankles and feet.
Improve Your Desk’s Ergonomics
The standard desk is built in a way that caters to everybody. It forces users to contort their bodies into whatever position allows them to do their work on it. These positions can sometimes feel unnatural, and being in them day in and day out can cause muscle strain and chronic pain.
Setting your desk up ergonomically can relieve chronic pain and prevent it from occurring in the future. Body mechanics experts recommend moving your monitor so that it is only an arm’s length away, and raising the screen until the top of it is level with your eye line. This improves visibility and prevents you from leaning in or craning your neck to see what’s on it.
Laptop users can buy a stand and connect an external keyboard and mouse to work with. The keyboard and mouse should be kept close together and positioned where the hands naturally fall on the desk. To avoid shoulder strain, use your elbow to move the mouse. Any work tools should also be positioned within easy reach.
Switch Up Your Seating
Maintaining good posture while seated at a desk is key to preventing pain, damage to the nerves, and musculoskeletal issues. However, most people end up slouching or hunching over their desks without realizing it, usually after 10 to 15 minutes of sitting.
To address this, switch your chair out for an ergonomic model. It should be the appropriate height, one that allows you to keep your shoulders straight and relaxed. Your elbows should be able to rest on the desk at a 90-degree angle. Both feet should be touching the floor. If the legs and feet end up dangling from the chair, use a footstool.
You can also invest in posture-correcting seat cushions. These are designed to lift your pelvis and keep you in the appropriate sitting posture without you having to mind it.
Sitting on its own is not detrimental to your health. Rather, it’s all about moderation, as doing it for too long can cause problems. The simplest way to stay healthy at your desk job is to remind yourself to get up and stretch your muscles every few minutes. Setting a recurring activity reminder on your phone or smartwatch can help. To release tight muscles and relieve stress, go for a short walk around the office or perform stretching exercises. You’ll feel better and be more productive at work!
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