According to a recent study, prolonged sitting while at your desk can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke, not to mention make your skin look older.
But that’s not the only thing at work that poses a risk to our health.
Computer Vision Syndrome, muscle problems and even deep vein thrombosis have all been identified as problems associated with never leaving the office chair.
Take a look below for seven simple ways to ensure sitting at a desk doesn’t take its toll on your health:
1. Stay clear of computer vision syndrome
It’s possible, nowadays, to spend most of our waking hours surrounded by screens.
From checking your emails and texts first thing in the morning, to working nine-to-five in an office, and then catching up on some evening TV or computer games before, finally, checking your trusty mobile again as you drift off to sleep.
Although this technology has many positive effects on our professional and social lives, what is it doing to our health? One significant effect of constant screen use is computer vision syndrome.
“When we use a computer for long periods,” explains Professor Dan Reinstein, of the London Vision Clinic, “we only blink around four to seven times per minute. Our usual rate of blinking is more like 18 to 20 times per minute, so this is a significant reduction – it can cause symptoms such as dry eyes and blurred vision.”
Professor Reinstein suggests taking computer screen breaks every hour, drinking plenty of water and making sure you are blinking regularly to avoid it.
2. Avoid deep vein thrombosis
Research found office workers are more prone to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) than those who spend a lot of time on long–haul flights.
A study by Professor Richard Beasley of the Medical Research Institute in New Zealand found that a third of patients admitted to hospital with DVT were office workers. Out of a sample of 62 patients admitted with blood clots 34 per cent had been sitting at their desks for long periods, while only 21 per cent had recently travelled on long-distance flights.
Office workers should be doing 30 minutes exercise, five times a week, yet only 24 per cent of women and 35 per cent of men actually achieve the recommended physical activity guidelines, which puts us at risk of potentially fatal heart and circulatory conditions.
Another way to avoid it is to pop a capsule such as Pycnogenol, a supplement known for its ability to support blood vessels – reinforcing capillary walls and ensuring normal blood flow.
3. Is your job making you fat?
Helen Bond, a leading dietician says: “It’s not uncommon to find unhealthy snacks littered around the office on a regular basis, making it tricky to keep a healthy eating regime on track.
“In order to avoid giving in to temptation, try drinking water regularly (around six to eight glasses a day) which can help to keep energy levels topped up, suppress the appetite and make you feel fuller.
“From now on your mantra needs to be plan ahead – stock up on more healthy snacks, such as nuts, seeds, fruit, crackers or oatcakes, so when your colleagues are digging in to the doughnuts, you can turn to a healthy alternative and don’t have to miss out altogether. You could also try using a supplement, such as Lineaslim, to help suppress the appetite further.”
4. Put an end to back pain
Sitting at your desk for hours on end can be an uncomfortable experience as your body can only tolerate being in one position for a short amount of time.
To improve your posture, the experts at Movelat suggest you make sure you have a chair that offers good back support, ensure you rest your feet on the floor and are not sitting crossed legged, keep your mouse close to you so you don’t over-stretch and ensure your screen is eye height to give you a good posture.
5. Avoid the office cold
A third of us have taken a day off sick due to the common cold in the last year, so if you do fall victim to a head cold, which most of us inevitably will at some point, try keeping decongestant tablets on your desk to keep you productive even when you’re not feeling at your best.
Clinical and community pharmacist Steve Riley, says: “If a dry cough is bothering you at work, get yourself a linctus style medicine or decongestants. They don’t cause side effects such as drowsiness, so will keep you staying alert at your desk and will soothe symptoms while your body gets on with fighting the infection.”
6. Clear your desk of hidden nasties
Our desks provide a home for an array of different germs, from crumbs and left-over food to bacteria (spread by the one in five of us who admit to not washing our hands properly after using the toilet at work). Make sure you keep your desk, phone and keyboard clean to protect yourself from stomach bugs and other viruses.
Regularly wipe down your office equipment and workspace with a bacterial wipe such as Cuticura anti-bacterial hand wipes to keep surfaces clean.
7. Maintain healthy digestion
Over-eating or rushing lunch at our desks can lead to bloating and abdominal discomfort. Our digestive system needs some movement to process food, so sitting at a desk for long periods of time can mean that there may not be enough movement to stimulate digestion.
Make sure you stand up and take regular breaks and use your lunch hour to go for a gentle walk to ensure a pain free afternoon.
If you are susceptible to regular bloating and trapped wind there are a number of effective and natural solutions.
Nutritionist Nadia Brydon says: “Taking Sun Chlorella ‘A’ on a daily basis can help keep the gut healthy and happy by acting as an ‘intestinal broom’ and cleansing the bowel by clinging on to toxins like mercury, aluminium or pesticides in your intestines and eliminating them as waste.
“A daily serving of Sun Chlorella can swiftly help return your system to its optimum performance.”