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Health Risks of a Desk Job

Tomer Harel -- Although there are certainly benefits to a desk job, such as little to no physical labor and protection from the elements, still it has its share of health challenges and consequences that people often overlook.

Most people today think that working in an office is a dream job. It doesn't involve much physical activity and one is protected from the elements, pain of manual labor, and other problems that come with working in a factory, plant, or outside. However, there are some hazards that come with an office job. Although there are certainly benefits, there are some problems that those who do more physical work will be less likely to encounter.

Our bodies were made to move and there's no way to get around that simple fact. When we don't move, our bodies slow down and become sedentary, both inside and out. 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 will make us feel very groggy and grumpy, hardly able to get through the day.

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. Quite simply, the sedentary workday results in not many calories being burned. 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.

Also, people don't expect any pain to be associated with a lifetime desk job. Of course, every job has risks, but people don't usually expect these types of problems at the office. Back pain is one very common office problem. 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. An involuntary trigger-releasing motion of the hand will occur from inflammation to the covering of the tendons in the hands and fingers, causing trigger finger. 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! No matter how bad the condition of your body, it's never too late to do something about it. 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. Move your hands, wrists and neck so that they are not fixed in the same position all day long. If necessary, set a timer so you will remember to get up and do some stretching or walking.

During after-office hours, find a physical activity that you enjoy. 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.

Looking for ergonomic office products to improve your health? Kare Products offers a wide variety of ergonomic products, with everything from conference meeting tables to ergonomic chairs. You can be more healthy and productive by living a more ergonomic lifestyle. Visit us today at

© 2010 Tomer Harel

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