Life has changed in the past decades, for a great majority of workers. Many of our citizens went from hard work in fields, to back-breaking factory work, in the industrial revolution, to the computer era, where many of us must sit at a desk all day to do our work. Your desk may be killing you, and here is how:
We don’t burn enough calories and it is making most of us fat. Obesity rates are at all-time highs. High calorie snacks are usually within close reach as well. Almost all of us have bad posture. Our shoulders slump and our heads are at bad angles, to view our computer screens. Every day this damage accumulates until we lose our ability to stand correctly. Eventually we get chronic pain and lose our ability to exercise and maybe even lose our mobility and independence.
Sitting for hours per day is bad for your arteries and veins. A recent study has shown that sitting at least 4 hours a day takes years off your life, because of damage to blood vessels. The small bit of hope from that study is that a 15 minute walk every 2 hours decreases that damage significantly. They are depressing and make you tired. Long term sitting alters brain chemistry in very bad ways. It can cause or trigger Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in those with a genetic risk. It is a particularly painful disorder that often comes with blood clots in the legs and the risk of clots breaking off and lodging in your lungs or brain, killing you.
There are new desks that can help. Stand-up desks used to be rare, but the wisdom of their use is spreading, giving you a much wider selection of styles, than even a few years ago. You can get them in different configurations, sizes, heights and materials. Check out Office Depot for a large selection. Besides getting one that has enough space for your computer, mouse or trackball, and perhaps a pad of paper, getting the right height is most important. Your arms should rest comfortably at your keyboard at around a 90 degree angle from your body. If you have a computer with a separate monitor, it should be at eye level. If your arms are in the right place, but you are looking down, that is bad for your neck. Consider a monitor riser to bring your monitor up to the correct height. If you don’t know what is going to be just right for you, or multiple people will be using the same workstation, then consider one with adjustable legs.
Your first few days with a stand up desk may feel a bit odd. You may fatigue some, but try taking a walk. You may find yourself shifting your weight from foot to foot. This is normal. But soon, you will wonder why anyone ever invented that barbaric sitting desk! And unless you are already quite athletic, don’t be surprised if you lose 10% of your body weight within a month or two! What if you have trouble justifying the expense or have trouble talking your boss into getting you one. Well guess what, if you just ask, your doctor or chiropractor will probably write you a prescription for a new stand-up desk! Why? Because they know how much it will improve your health. So get yours soon!