4 Harmful Effects Of Sitting At Your Desk Too Long
It’s no secret that the monotony of the workweek comes with some negative effects. Whether you’re your own boss or work for someone else, it’s easy to fall victim to the impacts of working at a desk all day. While the strains of sitting at your desk too long may not be noticeable right away, over time they will become apparent. Here are some less-than-pleasant effects of lounging in an office chair all day:
First and foremost, if you sit at your desk all day long with minimal breaks, you will likely face workplace burnout and feel overwhelmed. You may find yourself feeling unmotivated to finish your tasks, tired and unrested, or you may even feel like you don’t have much control over your work life. This will make your productivity decrease and your stress increase. Whether you’re working in an office or working from home, it’s crucial that you schedule breaks and remember that you’re human– not a robot.
It’s important to note that workplace burnout can lead to more serious mental health effects, like depression or anxiety for a vast array of reasons– such as lack of movement throughout the day, impostor syndrome, being overworked, isolation from coworkers, etc. This is why taking advantage of your allotted time off, asking for help from your coworkers, and being selective on what projects you commit to is crucial for your health and success. Take care of yourself so that you can be proud of the work you do while feeling good about yourself, too.
Eye Strain & Headaches
Working on a computer all day can lead to some severe health issues because of the blue light emitted by technology. While average blue wavelength exposure does not harm the retina directly, too much blue light exposure to cell phone and computer screens can cause headaches, eyestrain, interrupted sleep, and overall fatigue. It’s important to give your eyes some rest so they don’t feel as strained and so you can focus better.
Alternatively, too much screen time may lead to headaches, or computer vision syndrome, throughout the day because you are staring into the light for long periods of time and could be too close to the screen. If you experience this, breaks from the screen are crucial, as well as drinking a lot of water to keep your body and your eyes hydrated. Try using the 20-20-20 rule to help with digital eye strain. If you’re unfamiliar with the practice, it is when for every twenty minutes spent looking at a screen, you take a twenty-second break looking at something twenty feet away to reduce eye discomfort and headaches. Talk with your doctor to find the best-individualized solution if you have continuous headaches throughout the workweek.
The chances of developing diabetes, specifically prediabetes or type 2, greatly increase if you sit at a desk all day every day. Why? Because lack of movement from being stationary can cause the metabolism to slow down and lead to significant weight gain, which are two risk factors that increase chances of developing diabetes. One study even suggests that sitting for hours on end provides a greater risk of insulin resistance because of physical inactivity and decreased blood flow. All of these factors combined make an individual more prone to T2D, but luckily there are ways to prevent this diagnosis.
Type 2 Diabetes occurs when someone becomes insulin resistant and their body is no longer able to properly filter out sugar from the blood, which can lead to more serious health effects such as nerve pain, heart problems, and kidney failure. To avoid this, it’s essential that businesswomen care for themselves throughout the day by eating healthy meals and engaging in physical activity as often as they can. Plan out your meals, exercises, and breaks before the week begins so you can manage how much time you spend sitting.
Neck, Back & Hip Pain
Staying stationary all day, especially in an uncomfortable chair, can cause severe neck, back, and hip pain if not cared for properly. If you sit all day without proper posture, your body can start to feel the effects gradually. This is why it’s important to invest in your workspace environment to ensure that you’re doing the most you can for your physical health.
Consider using an ergonomic chair to support your posture and relieve hip and back pain. If you’re in charge of supplying your own office equipment and can’t invest in an ergonomic chair, another great option is a therapeutic seat cushion and back pillow, or even creating your own standing desk. To avoid “computer neck,” use a monitor riser to make your screen eye level so you don’t have to look down all day. You spend a lot of time working hard to support yourself, so don’t make your body pay the price down the line.
Now, keep in mind that sitting at a desk all day is not guaranteed to cause all of these effects to happen. However, your chances do dramatically increase if precautions are not taken. To be better safe than sorry, a common solution here is by taking breaks during the day to implement and maintain a healthy lifestyle that balances both work and your personal wellbeing.
Exercise throughout the day is key to taking care of yourself during the workday. If you need to be held accountable for getting up from your desk, consider setting a reminder on your phone to walk around the last 5 minutes of every hour or schedule in some breaks at least every two hours on your calendar. If you find that stepping away from your desk is a struggle because of the demands of your job, you could try some simple stationary exercises to at least get your blood flowing. Remember to put your personal health first so you can lead a comfortable and productive life that your future self will thank you for.