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Is Your Office Wrecking Your Health?

By    |   Thursday, 30 Apr 2015 03:22 PM



Your office may seem tranquil — a quiet cocoon that allows you to work productively in peace. But dangers to your health lurk in even the best office setting, because just sitting behind your desk for extended periods of time increases your risk of many diseases.

A study published earlier this year in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who sit for eight or nine hours a day increase their risk of diabetes by 91 percent. Not exercising increased the risk of dying prematurely by 40 percent, and even regular exercise didn't completely eliminate the risk. Those who sat for lengthy stretches but exercised regularly still had a 10 percent increased risk of dying early.

The answer, experts say, is taking quick breaks every half hour during the day. Stand up, walk around your desk, or visit the water fountain. If possible, use a standing desk, since standing makes you more active and burns more energy.

In addition to shortening your life, sitting at a desk for long periods of time also makes your back and neck — even your wrists — hurt. Aches and pains are mainly the result of poor posture. Sit up straight like your mom taught with your feet flat on the floor. Don't bend your upper back forward, and don't balance the phone on your shoulder to use your computer.

Staring at a computer throughout the day can strain your eyes, especially if there's glare in the room. Make sure your computer isn't opposite a window, and if it is, use widow shades to reduce glare. Also, make sure the size of the text you work with is big enough to ease eye strain. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests taking a 10 minute break for every hour you use a computer.

To avoid putting pressure on your wrists when typing, keep them straight, and use padded wrist supports.

When you take a break and walk around the office, head in the opposite direction from the vending machines. To keep from being tempted, bring your lunch from home and include healthy snacks, such as fruit and nuts.

During your breaks, wash your hands. Although your office may look sparkling clean, studies show it's a cesspool of germs. A study by Dr. Charles Gerba ("Dr. Germ") of the University of Arizona found that the handles of the sink and microwave were the dirtiest places in the office, with computer keyboards taking third place.

During lunch breaks, take a walk. A recent study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine found that workers who took a 30-minute walk at noon were less stressed and felt more productive. In addition, those who walked saw improvements in their health after only 10 weeks.

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Your office may seem tranquil - a quiet cocoon that allows you to work productively in peace. But dangers to your health lurk in even the best office setting, because just sitting behind your desk for extended periods of time increases your risk of many diseases. A study...
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2015-22-30
Thursday, 30 Apr 2015 03:22 PM
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