Eyes, heart, butt: All are in danger from your desk job – here’s what you can do about it

Saturday, December 30, 2017 by

Even though most desk jobs are low-impact, they are often linked to very serious health concerns.

Various experts say that individuals who work in offices need to pay attention to their health because people who spend at least six hours a day sitting down double their risk of a heart attack. Even the computers that we use can increase the risk for visual impairment by a whopping 40 percent, as well as “increase insulin resistance, and affect our mental health.”

Because of this alarming trend, “weekend warriors” were born. Weekend warriors often cram a seven-day workout regimen during the weekend. Unfortunately, research has confirmed that this doesn’t benefit your health that much.

Dr. Allan Stewart, M.D., Director of Aortic Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, shared that because desk jobs require you to sit for long periods, your heart rate slows down and this affects your overall health. This can cause a tendency to prefer unhealthy foods, fat build-up on the heart, an increased insulin resistance, and a more pronounced belly.

While damage to the heart and muscles of weekend warriors is already done, these tips from Dr. Stewart can help offset your risk for various health concerns:

  • Keep your heart rate up – Walk around the office, talk to your colleagues, or drink some water.
  • Go on an hourly standing break – “Regular bouts of movement” can prevent your heart rate from slowing down.
  • Go on “walk and talk” meetings – Whenever possible, have work meetings while on a walk if the weather is nice and you don’t need a computer.
  • Transform your desk into a workout if you work remotely – Put your laptop on a treadmill and work while walking.
  • Commit to regular workouts – Exercise at least 30 to 45 minutes for four days a week.

How desk jobs can atrophy your muscles

Moe Widdi, a “master trainer” at New York Health & Racquet Club, advised that sitting less is better for your “body’s natural state.” A desk job increases the body’s “risk for injury” when we lose strength in core and glutes because this puts more pressure on the bones.

Posture also helps you maintain confidence, minimizes the risk of injury, and helps you avoid asthma. Widdi suggests some wall slides and supinated reverse flys to help improve your posture.

  • Wall slides – Lay flat against a wall or mirror and flatten your back against it. Contract your core and tilt your pelvis to the back. Put your arms and hands against the wall in the shape of a football field goal. Put the back of your head against the wall and press against the mirror when you slide your hands up and down. This exercise forces the muscles we need in the back and neck to isolate and activate by keeping the back flat when doing a wall slide.
  • Supinated reverse flys – While in the same form for wall slides, take a Thera band with your palms facing up (supinated). Externally rotate your shoulders to allows the contraction of your back muscles more when you do a reverse fly. With your hands straight out in front of you, keep your elbows locked in. Touch the wall with each rep if your range of motion permits.

Protect your eyesight

Dr. Randy McLaughlin, an optometrist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centersaid that while computer screens “are not going to make you go blind,” the UV (ultraviolet) rays they emit can still strain the retinas.

The following tips can help you protect your eyes:

  • Take “visual breaks” every 20 to 30 minutes. Simply looking away from a computer screen can help.
  • Use eye drops to relieve any dryness or eye strain.
  • Get regular eye checkups every two years.
  • Blink often. It may seem strange but blinking can improve your focus and help re-hydrate your eyes. Try to blink every three to four seconds to avoid eye strain.

You can learn more about how to stay active at Slender.news.


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