Is your desk job dangerous?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Woman at a desk

First, the bad news: Too much time on your behind could be killing you.

A 2015 study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that lack of physical activity increased the odds of being diagnosed with a disease or a condition that leads to premature death. It also decreases the effectiveness of your workout routine.

“Sitting is the new smoking and immobility is your worst enemy,” Anita Stehmeier, physical therapist at Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH), says. “When you stay seated at your desk for too long, your circulation decreases and is, eventually, compromised.”

The good news

The cure may be as simple as adding movement to your to-do list. “We are hunter-gatherers who are supposed to be in motion,” Anita says. “We just function better when we are more active.”

To get your blood flowing at work, she suggests setting the timer on your cell phone every hour to remind you to move. Walk to the printer or take a lap or two around the office. Even better is getting outside (when weather permits) for a nature break. Some research finds a 20-minute outdoor walk reduces stress and increases feelings of well-being.

An added benefit

Anita adds, for people who focus on computer screens for extended periods, that walking away from your desk also provides your eyes with a much needed break.

Five other ways to add movement to your workday:

  • Stand while you talk on the phone
  • Walk to talk to people instead calling, emailing or texting
  • Park farther away from the office
  • Use the stairs when traveling two flights or less
  • Perform your favorite stretches for three or four minutes

“Find what works for you and stick to it,” Anita says.



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