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Goals Series: Improve Your Physical Health at Your Desk Job

Kerry Provenzano Blog health, The Goals Series

Maintaining good physical health is great for longevity in your work and personal life. Working a desk job can incite a number of physical issues, including an increased risk of heart disease, higher risk of developing dementia, weight gain, back pain and more.

Here are the most common desk-related health concerns – and what you can do to avoid them:

1: Eyestrain and Retina Damage

This study found extended exposure to LED lights can lead to retinal damage. LED also produces blue light, which has been linked to disruption of sleep. Decrease your risk of LED and blue light exposure by using screen filters, such as f.lux or making use of Night Mode on your Android device or Night Shift on your iOS device. It’s also important to take frequent breaks from your screen and keep regular appointments with your eye doctor to monitor any damage and discuss preventative measures.

2: Obesity

Lack of movement slows down your metabolism, which reduces the amount of food that converts to energy. This promotes fat accumulation and obesity, which can lead to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis. Studies have shown a link between sedentary jobs and obesity. To combat the health risks linked to obesity, consider a treadmill desk. Or, for a more budget friendly option, schedule regular walks.

3: Musculoskeletal Disorders

If you sit all day, you face a higher risk of musculoskeletal disorders: injury, damage or disorder of the joints or other tissues in the upper/lower limbs or the back. Design and ergonomics professor, Alan Hedge, suggests changing positions every eight minutes, and taking two-minute “moving breaks” at least twice an hour.

4. Repetitive Strain Injury

Often known as RSI, this refers to “the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse”. Those who spend time typing, scrolling or clicking are all at risk. Try rotating devices to switch up the movements of your hands. You can also save yourself some typing with tools like TextExpander.

Your Physical Health Desk Job Checklist

  • Download digital screen filters, such as f.lux, for your computer
  • Find your mobile device settings for Night Shift/Night Mode
  • Check you have an appointment booked with your eye doctor
  • Use your phone or todo manager to set reminders to stand and walk
  • Research treadmill desks to see if financially viable
  • Make note to change sitting position every eight minutes
  • Invest in new input devices to avoid RSI
  • Schedule a regular review to tweak your working habits

What You Can Do Today

  • Decide which of the above problem areas you’d like to focus on
  • Take three short breaks from your computer to move around

What do you do to stay healthy at work? Let us know @TextExpander and in our group on Facebook.

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