Sitting looks easy enough, but is it actually healthy? As the adage goes, too much of something can be bad. However, to individuals who spend most of their work day seated on a cushioned chair (or any other chair for that matter), too much sitting can even be deadly.
All jobs have their risks, but some seemingly comfortable professions may not entirely be safe. If you’ve just bagged a highly-coveted position that does not require you to be out in the field so much– like in consultancy or a management– you need to be more wary now, more than over, with your health. For busy people, start by keeping an eye on your spinal health.
The Dangers of Sitting
All sit and no stand makes Jack a stressed Millennial.
Being surrounded by heavy machinery, or having to literally do some heavy lifting, obviously seems dangerous, but a workplace populated only be tables and chairs can be just as risky. There is a misconception that sitting is easy, and therefore, healthy. After all, when we are tired after a long day’s work, we tend to retreat to a comfy couch, a lone bar stool, or a dining chair in some downtown restaurant. All of these may seem like an image of comfort and rest, but staying in a stationary position for long hours is not, in any way, comfortable. It, too, can have its negative effects on your body, and worse, these effects are invisible and may accumulate over time. What many people may not understand is that sitting brings pressure to your muscoskeletal system, and when relief is not sought out soon enough, your body is likely to suffer more.
It is important to let go of misconceptions related to sitting in a workplace setting in order to better understand its effects. For starters, never relate sitting with rest, because when a certain activity, no matter how relaxing it might seem or sound (like yoga, lifting weights, and even laying down), is done for a long time everyday, it will affect key points in your body. Sitting for too long, for example, tends to bring pressure to your neck, shoulders, spine, buttocks, and the back of your legs. Other stationary postures may affect other parts of your body, so it would be wise to understand your bad habits at work just so you have an idea of what behavior to avoid.
Dealing with Workplace Stress
Anything that may bother you physically, mentally, and psychologically as a result of your work may easily be considered a symptom of workplace stress. These symptoms can vary from person to person, from situation to situation. Needless to say, it would help if you took note of every discomfort you experience at work or after it just so you can understand what triggers your stress better.
If you don’t know how to begin, start by understanding the nature of your job and all the comforts and risks you may be exposed to. For example, for people in middle management, your daily reality may be marked by sitting at your desk, going through paperwork upon paperwork, signing documents, and analyzing reports and other files for hours at your desk, everyday. Although the job grants you access to your own office or cubicle, a coffee maker that’s within reach, and minimal exposure to heavy labor, this situation may not entirely be safe or healthy.
Aside from an executive check-up, your workplace habits can also tell you where you may be failing your physical health. Observe your daily habits, and take note of anything you may be doing in excess. Once you understand the reality at work, it will be easier for you to identify solutions.
Making Changes in Your Office
Turning your office into a more comfortable and productive environment does not have to happen drastically, although the sooner ergonomic furniture is added into your office, the sooner will things improve for you. Changes in your office can be as subtle as declogging your desk, organizing your files and work tools better, changing the lights’ luminescence depending on the time of day, or changing the hues that surround you into something that is more comfortable.
Some things in your office definitely have to go, and the first would have to be your uncomfortable seat into something with more ergonomic features.
Now that you have taken a few unnecessary furniture out, it may be wise to introduce new office furniture later on. Start by introducing furniture that allows you to change your position throughout the day. If what you currently have is a low, work table, invest in an adjustable standing desk. Alternatively, if you tend to stand all day, invest in a standing pad that slants at an angle so pressure is taken off of your soles and legs.
The word alone may sound daunting, but it isn’t rocket science. To simplify, ergonomics makes it possible for busy people to minimize body stress that may occur as a result of performing repetitive movements, bad posture, or staying in a particular posture for a long time. Remember that while staying in a rested position seems fun, it isn’t what your body was made for.
Ergonomic furniture makes it possible for your body to adjust accordingly as you remain in a particular position for a period of time. It helps to have a variety of ergonomic pieces in your home or office so you can choose from a variety of comfortable positions to work in, whenever you feel like changing things up a bit. In fact, change is good, and not to mention, healthy.