No longer worried about building railroads, mining coal, or digging for gold, many Americans are building their empires of success from a desk.
While we have become more technologically savvy, our awareness of our future seems to expand in all areas besides our health.
Though we are a species meant to evolve and expand our horizons, are we actually moving backward in an attempt to stay ahead?
The following article is what science and research have to say about our physical and psychological well-being as we sit more now than we’ve ever done before.
Deadly Desk Jobs
Image source: DailyInfoGraphic.com
According to USnews, 86% of the working population in America is sitting for a majority of their time at work. Typically, that means 8-10 hours a day.
That doesn’t include sitting in traffic to and from work or the sitting that will occur once you’ve reached home exhausted from the long day.
Overworking the mind and underworking the body has led to all sorts of stress-related problems.
Migraines, tension headaches, indigestion, fatigue, mid-day crash, depression, and irritability.
According to a study done with over 200,000 working Australians, people who sit for more than 11 hours a day are more likely to have a lower quality of life and 40% greater chance of dying before the age of 50 than those who sit for five hours or less.
Sitting all day probably means you’ll be spending more time indoors. Humans were made to draw energy and life from fresh air and sunlight.
Not just for physical health but mental health, too. According to a study, six hours in a row of sitting indoors has a detrimental impact on your psyche leading to loss of motivation, inspiration, and increases the likelihood of experiencing depression-like symptoms.
Sitting all day isn’t a bad habit. It’s a deadly one. If you catch yourself feeling demotivated at work or feelings of sadness and lacking the desire to do anything, go outside for a walk.
Find an area under a tree to meditate if possible. If you want to break the cycle of bad habits like desk jobs, you may have to step out of the box and take care of your mental and physical well-being, even if it feels unusual.
Blood and oxygen are the life force of our body’s but they can’t do their job if circulation is poor.
Here are a few signs that your sitting posture is weakening your circulation:
- Stiff neck
- Swollen feet
- Pain in butt muscles
- Back pain
- Should pain
- Constantly feeling the need to readjust
- Tingling or numbing sensation
- Swelling or irritation
- Inconsistent energy
- Inability to concentrate
Experiencing two or more of these symptoms a day is telling that your posture is allowing sufficient blood flow and oxygen to your muscles and brain.
Sitting with poor posture for prolonged periods of time isn’t only uncomfortable it increases the probability of suffering from deadly diseases like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Your body is made to move.
It isn’t recommended that you sit pin-straight and rigid or to completely slouch over the keyboard.
Instead, professional ergonomist recommends sitting with your back against the chair in a relaxed manner, slightly hunched with the ability to outstretch your legs regularly.
One of the primary organs impacted by poor posture for extended periods of time is your lungs. Curving the spine to a deep slouch restricts the ability to fill longs with air resulting in shallow short breaths. A famous meditative quote used in China says “Long breath equals a long life”.
Keep your chest open and front facing as possible to ensure you breathe in the appropriate amount of oxygen required by your body.
Unhealthy Desk Habits
While sitting down for long periods of time is the cause for the most concern, paired with any other unhealthy habits will further exacerbate the damage done to your health and well-being.
Snacking on processed foods that are high in salt, fat, or sugar aren’t good for you in general and serve little to no nutritional value beyond calories.
Combined with a lack of movement, these snacks almost triple it how damaging they can be for your cholesterol, blood pressure, gut health, and even the liver and kidneys suffer.
Digestion is slowed when sitting, so filling your tummy and while staying in your chair is going to create a build-up of gas and toxins.
The longer these sit with no motion, the more likely they are to seep into the bloodstream or turn into a long-term issue like leaky gut or irritable bowel syndrome.
Drinking coffee, tea, or energy drinks at your desk can put you at risk for thyroid and adrenal issues. Trying to persuade your body to feel energized with high doses of caffeine is going to confuse and exhaust your adrenal system.
Sitting for long periods of time signals to your body to rest and relax and therefore certain hormones are released to induce such feelings. Adding a stimulant to the mix without leaving your seat leads to an imbalanced emotional catastrophe.
Stand Up For Your Health
There are several ways to stand up for your health and reverse the symptoms caused by a sedentary job or lifestyle.
Unfortunately, hitting the gym for an hour every day after 8-10 hours of sitting won’t remedy the issue entirely.
Yes, working out is healthy, but you’ll need to make many small efforts throughout the day in order to make a difference.
Standing desks are a great option and are becoming increasingly popular. Pair a standing desk with a high chair so that you can move between the two positions throughout the day.
Go outside for regular walks. Fresh air and sunlight are just as important as standing up and moving. Make the most of your breaks.
If your breaks are highly monitored, see if you can turn your one hour break into four 15 minute breaks where you’ll be able to go outside for a brisk walk.
Lastly, avoid eating at your desk. Keep your snacks and goodies in a lounge area or somewhere you have to get up and walk to. Easy access is not your friend.
Apply these changes and you will begin to feel energized, improve your productivity at work, and ward off any long-term damage long hours of sitting may cause.
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