Every job has its hazards. However, not all job hazards are pronounced or believed to exist. One of the jobs in this category includes sedentary work, where workers have to sit down for more than eight every day.
Unknown to many people, sitting down for a long time affects one’s health. Workers, such as secretaries, front desk officers, software developers, writers, pilots, bus drivers, and so many others, face the risk of developing health complications as a result of their jobs. These workers must have discovered they experience certain challenges after sitting for a long time but they do not know how to complain about them because their jobs are believed to be less strenuous. Further, many managers do not allow desk officers to leave their desks, thereby making them sit all day, except for a few toilet breaks. This makes it imperative for both affected employees and their employers to understand the dangers of sitting for a long time at a stretch.
Dangers of Sitting for a Long Time
- Anxiety and Depression: Sitting in a place for a long time means the person will not be able to engage in small talks with colleagues or even ask them for directions towards solving a particular problem. When workers sit before their computers all day, they are bound to feel gloomy and lonely at a particular point in time. Anxiety can also set in as a result of work-related pressure, which could have been dissipated by the presence of colleagues and friends. But in situations where workers could not leave their desks, they are bound to experience depression and anxiety.
- Heart Diseases: Sedentary works prevent vigorous body movement. It causes a lack of exercise. As a result, sedentary workers burn few calories since they use less energy. This puts sedentary workers at the risk of excessive weight gain and obesity, which in turn leads to heart problems, such as hypertension, heart failure, cardiac arrest, and the rest. Diabetes has also been linked to sitting for a long time.
- Body Pains: It might sound ironic to state that sitting for a long time, without doing any strenuous activity, causes body pains. Sedentary workers can attest to experiencing back pain, neck stiffness and pain, and waist pain. These pains are caused by the body posture while sitting and the pressure placed on the waist. Those that use badly built seats are bound to experience more severe pains than those with more comfortable seats. Nevertheless, sitting for a long time puts the body in pain irrespective of the type of seat one sits on.
- Weak, Swollen, and Numb Feet and Legs: As a result of the inactivity that accompanies sitting, body fluid is retained at the feet and ankles. Further, the muscles of the legs tend to become weak since they are not exercised. Clots could also form in the legs and become fatal if they break and any of them finds its way to the lungs. You may also need to know that sitting (and standing) in a place for a long time could cause varicose veins.
- Cancer: Research is still on-going to determine why sitting for a long time leads to cancer of the colon, lungs, and uterine. However, associated weight gain is considered as the causative factor so far.
What You Should Do
You must have realized by now that the symptoms you are experiencing are the effects of your job type. By now, you should have acknowledged that sedentary works have their occupational hazards. But you don’t have to leave your jobs because of these hazards because you will meet one kind of risk or another wherever you go. So, you may need to do the things listed below to minimize these dangers posed by your job.
- Stand up every thirty minutes. When you do so, move around a little or simply stretch your muscles to allow blood flow to your legs and other parts of your body. Standing up will also ease the stress your sitting position placed on your waist and spine. Moving about will help to exercise your muscles and prevent stiffness, weak muscles, and pains.
- Work while standing. If your desk is high, or you have a high table or counter close-by, consider standing up for some minutes as you work. Remember that the essence of standing is to aid blood circulation and to ease pressure on some joints, so don’t stand in one position for long. Move your feet about now and then to relieve the pressure your weight placed on them and to trigger blood circulation.
- Exercise vigorously. Even though it has been discovered that sitting for a long time makes exercises ineffective, research has shown that intense physical activities that are done for at least one hour daily help to prevent heart diseases that might arise from inactivity for the rest of the day. These intense physical activities supply abundant oxygen to the body, which allows metabolism to take place and burn off calories while it does it so. Further, these physical activities make the heart pump faster, hence strengthening its muscles. So, find that one hour from your twenty-fours to keep your body and soul together.
Now that you have learnt the hazards of sedentary works, what do you plan to do with the information? This question is directed to bosses and supervisors, who insist their employees and subordinates must never leave their desks irrespective of any circumstances. If you are the one directly affected by this, let your bosses receive the information as you do your best to relieve the symptoms you are experiencing.