Having a desk job comes with its own set of health risks. Sitting for prolonged periods can increase your risk of developing obesity and have serious other health consequences. This is why it is crucial to make sure you are taking steps to stay healthy, even if you spend most of your day at a desk.
What are the common health risks associated with desk jobs?
A job where you sit most of the day contributes to a sedentary lifestyle involving little or no physical activity. It is a significant risk factor for many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
A sedentary lifestyle can also lead to obesity and musculoskeletal problems. Let’s go into more detail about the potential issues below.
1. The risks of obesity and diabetes
Obesity and diabetes are two of the most common health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Obesity is a condition in which a person has an excessive amount of body fat.
Carrying an excessive amount of weight can lead to various health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not properly process sugar, and complications can have serious complications, from kidney disease to blindness.
2. The link between sitting and heart disease
Sitting for long periods is a risk factor for heart disease. The risk of heart disease increases with the time you spend sitting.
One study of over 220,000 Australian adults found that the longer time spent sitting each day was associated with premature death. This same study unveiled that those who sat for over 11 hours a day had a 40 percent higher mortality risk within three years from any cause than those who did not sit for more than four hours daily.
Heart disease and stroke are among the leading causes of death in the United States. A sedentary lifestyle is a significant risk factor for both of these conditions.
With heart disease, the arteries become blocked or narrowed, which can lead to a heart attack. As for a stroke, this condition occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. It can result in paralysis or even death.
3. Effects of sitting on musculoskeletal health
Sitting can lead to musculoskeletal problems, such as back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain. Poor posture while sitting can also contribute to these problems.
Sitting for long periods can also lead to stiffness and reduced range of motion in the joints. It is slightly uncomfortable for some people, and very painful for others.
4. Consequences of poor posture
Poor sitting posture can lead to several health problems, such as back pain, neck pain, and headaches. It can also cause fatigue and tension in the muscles.
Furthermore, poor posture can also make it difficult to breathe correctly, which can lead to respiratory problems. Thus, the importance of good posture is vital to your body.
10 ways to reduce health risks of desk jobs
Thankfully, there are several ways to reduce the risks associated with a desk job. Here are ten examples:
- Get up and move around every 30 minutes
- Take regular breaks to stretch and move your body
- Use a standing desk or sit-stand desk
- Invest in an ergonomic chair that supports your back and neck
- Make sure your workspace is set up correctly to keep a good posture
- Take walks during your lunch break or after work
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day
- Eat healthy foods and snacks throughout the day
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
- Avoid sitting for more than four hours at a time
See your doctor for additional tips and to ensure that the suggestions above are right for you. Always follow your GP’s advice. This article is not intended to take the place of medical advice.
Takeaway on desk jobs and associated health risks
A sedentary lifestyle is a significant risk factor for many chronic diseases. If you have a desk job, it is vital to stay healthy. That includes regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight.
15 thoughts on “Health risks of desk jobs: Here’s the truth”
Thank you for this scary, but important information Christy <3
Scary… In time for Halloween too… ;)
In the past, I did lot of walking, yoga, pilates and Thai Chi and I think this helped me reach ninety last birthday. For the last few years I have typèd and written a lot (nine books published and another just finished) I also write a weekly column for a local newspaper, and Chair for a local group. Lately, my knees are really ‘playing up’ and I can’t walk long distances but my back is still straight and I have a good typist`’s chair. I have a few minimal heath probs. and extreme tiredness at times, but that’s to be expected!! PS I do a few exercises during the day and only eat a small piece of dark chocolate…Really! I’ll just have to try harder… Cheers.
Nine books in the last few years ~ Wow, Joy! That’s incredible. It sounds like you are sitting for the writing but are trying to fit in exercise when you can. That’s wonderful xx Don’t be too hard on yourself as you are trying and that’s wonderful..
HI Christy, these are all real health risks and I suffer from back and neck pain. I really try to do stretches, strengthening exercise and walk every day, but sometimes I just don’t find time because I have other things to do for my sons. No one ever said life was easy.
Life certainly has its challenges. Stretching is good!
I agree with you. I work at a desk, but I try to stand and walk often to keep my body moving, I also run when I get the chance. :)
That’s terrific, Lisa! I’m trying to get up every hour. Otherwise my back is not happy with me.
Really important article Christy. Moving around is so important if your work involves sitting all the time!
Yes! I try to get up every hour. Sometimes I lose track of time… xx
I do too! I tried setting a little timer, but I would just turn it off in a fog and keep writing….
Awe, at least you are trying! xx
Thanks, Christy, for sharing the article on the health risks of a desk job. The advice given to help combat the ill effects of sitting too long are great. Sometimes I forget to take breaks and exercise and regret it later when I get stiff and sore.
Hi Linnea, thanks for appreciating the tips here. It’s a good reminder to get up more often. Doing so refreshes not only the body but also the mind!