With the increasing modernization of western society, the general workforce has seen large shifts from manual and physical labour, to jobs that require computer and office administration skills. In this, it has become less likely for adults to engage in physical activity throughout their weekly schedules as many occupations require long hours unmoving filing, meetings, and phone calls.
We often hear that such jobs can negatively impact one's posture due to the prolonged periods of slouching that they engage with. However, there are significantly more ramifications that this decrease in mobility and activity can have on one’s health, including;
Lack of concentration
The brain requires oxygen to maintain proper thinking and strong concentration. When workers engage in long periods of sitting, the curve in their spine cuts into the space of the lungs and limits the amount of oxygen that they can hold. This thus prevents a full dispersion of oxygen to be sent to the brain and may, in turn, limit the amount of work that one can engage in due to a slower working pace and a higher susceptibility to distractions.
Damage to your neck
Working on a laptop, computer, smartphone or tablet generally requires looking down rather than holding the neck in a natural, straight-ahead position. By doing so the natural weight of the neck is increased due to the larger angle that it creates between skull and spine. In this, sitting at a desk for approximately 40 hours a week can lead to significant strains which may result in long term discomfort, aches, and pains throughout the neck and spinal regions.
Through various studies, it has been found that higher rates of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer were found in workers who do not regularly engage their bodies in physical activity as vital organs are strained of the appropriate oxygen that they require to maintain healthy bodily function.
Loss of muscle strength
Sitting for prolonged periods can have significant damage to muscle strength as the body is strained from any muscle strengthening that could have been developed had they had been walking or engaging in other physical activity. While this is more prevalent in individuals who are not physically active outside of the workforce, it must be understood that even those who engage in regular physical activity can have a loss of muscle strength due to long periods of rest, and potentially no activity, between exercises.
THOUGH THERE IS HOPE. Office jobs do not need to lead to increased health issues, and by implementing a few small changes within your routine, you can effectively improve all aspects of your health.
Take time from the computer to exercise. This can be simply done by walking around the office or walking to pick up lunch rather than ordering in meals. By doing so, you will be able to stimulate oxygen through the body and promote more concentration through the brain.
Engage in stretching. Whether this is between clients or an after-work yoga session, we must stretch each day to relax muscles that would otherwise be tense and tight. This can lead to increased mobility and assist with neck, back or leg pains that may have been the result of poor work posture.
As mentioned, we must engage in physical activity, no matter how simple or complex workouts may be. However, it may be difficult at first for those who have previously spent long periods immobile at an office job. For anyone who is seeking assistance with physical pains that they have experienced or wants to learn about various exercises that they can use to exercise whilst on the job The Bankstown Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Centre team is happy to help.
To make a booking, contact us on 9793 3119 or visit our website for more information https://www.bankstownphysiotherapy.com.au/