Your Desk Job Is Trying to Kill You: 10 Ways to Stay Healthy at the Office
It may not seem obvious, but working in an office building can be as hazardous to your health as being on a construction site. There are a lot of things that may not seem obviously harmful when you start on your first day, but the more you do them over time, the more they affect your health and well being.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind for the next time you find yourself sitting at your desk all day. Most of them are quick things that you can do on a daily basis to keep yourself safe, and ensure that you leave your desk every day healthier than when you sat down.
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It may seem crazy, but trips and falls are actually the most common injury that happens to office workers. When you work in a large, cushy office building, tripping or falling down seems like something that only a klutz would do. After all, cubicles or rows of desks may be boring, but at least they’re safe. Think again!
One of the top reasons that trips and falls happen so often to office workers, and why they can be so dangerous, is that you don’t expect them. A small patch of loose carpeting, or fallen power cord could result in a debilitating injury for someone who catches it while walking at a rapid pace, or trips and hits another object on their way down to the ground.
To avoid falls or trips like this, keep your workspace clean, and encourage all your office mates to do the same. If you need something from a high shelf, get a ladder or step-stool instead of using your chair.
Repetitive stress injuries are overly common in office buildings where workers are forced to use equipment that is poorly designed, causing strain in places like your hands, wrists, neck, and back.
In the short term, using a poorly designed workstation can cause frequent back aches, and wrist pain. InAfter a few years, these minor ailments become injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis.
Although these problems are incredibly common among office workers, they are easy to avoid if you make a few little adjustments to your daily routine. First, make sure you pick out a desk chair and workstation that fits your body. Ideally, your thighs should be horizontal to the floor, your feet flat on the ground, and your back well supported. While typing, your wrists should be straight and your elbows at a 90 degree angle.
Even if you feel comfortable at your desk, take a few moments every half hour or so to stretch. These few adjustments can save you aches and pains in the long run!
Always lift objects correctly
Even if it doesn’t seem like a very heavy object, taking the time to lift something properly is always a good idea. Lifting anything improperly, even if it’s light, can lead to stress injuries in the most vulnerable parts of your body. Injuries to your neck and spine are notoriously difficult to treat, and can lead to years of pain.
It’s super easy to learn how to lift things properly. Lift an object by first squatting, then grabbing the object, and using your legs (not your back, or neck!) to bring you up to standing height. Holding the load close to your body also helps you balance, especially if you have to carry the object more than a few steps.