How to Counteract the Health Risks of Desk Jobs

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Less than 20% of people in the United States have a job that could be considered ‘active’.

The majority of us spend eight hours each day stuck behind our desks, two hours per day driving, and then much of the remainder of the day lounging around on couches. While there are a lot of health risks associated with living a sedentary lifestyle, the fact that we have no choice but to sit at a desk to work doesn’t really help matters. While there’s no real way to make an office job ‘active’, there are some steps you can take to counteract the health risks they cause. These are detailed below.

1. Use a Standing Desk
Standing desks have been available for many years, but they haven’t really caught on with the masses. It’s a shame, as they are much better for us than the traditional desk. Even if you just stand while working for 30 minutes of the day, you will see a noticeable improvement in your health and body. Standing desks can help to reduce back pain, lower your risk of obesity and weight gain, lower your risk of heart disease, improve your posture, and more. You can also purchase sit-stand desks which alternate between a standing desk and a traditional model, removing the need for you to move your equipment while you make the transition.

2. Move Around as Part of Your Workday
If you can’t avoid sitting at your desk – or your employer refuses to pay for standing desks – fear not, as there are still some things you can do to incorporate movement into your workday. All of these will be beneficial for your health, and include:
Walking over to your co-workers to talk to them face to face rather than emailing or phoning them
Going for a walk on your lunch hour
Standing in meetings rather than sitting
Taking the elevator instead of the stairs
Finding active ways to get to work such as walking or cycling
It’s best to try and get up and walk around every 60 minutes if you can. It won’t only boost your physical health, but your mental health too.

3. Invest in a Good Mattress
If you spend most of your day sitting down, it’s likely that your body feels uncomfortable and achy by the time night time comes around. To counteract this, you want to invest in a good mattress. You don’t have to spend a lot, either. Black Friday is coming up soon and there are sure to be some great deals. A good mattress won’t just help ensure you have a peaceful night’s sleep, but it can also help to reduce back pain, and the aches and pains you feel on a daily basis. Make sure to do some research into the best type of mattress for you as what is best for one person might not be best for another.

4. Set Up Your Workstation Properly
If you are one of the millions of people who is now working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, you likely haven’t got the same healthy setup that you had in the office. Setting up your workstation properly is very important as it can again help to counteract some of the health risks that come with working at your desk. You shouldn’t have to lean forwards to see your computer; instead the top of your monitor should be at forehead level, approximately an arm’s length away from you. Your mouse and keyboard should also be at a height that enables you to reach for them at a 90-degree angle. Finally, your hips and knees should be at a 90-degree angle when sitting. If any of the above does not apply to your workstation, it’s time to make a change.
Although most of us aren’t able to get a more active job, the above tips should at least help to counteract some of the health risks of desk jobs.

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