The stress, long hours, and sedentary nature of your modern office job are sucking the life out of you — literally.
And it’s not just the tight deadlines, stress-eaten doughnuts, and sneezing coworkers that are doing you in. Even your keyboard can be out to get you.
From the printer to your manager, the dangers presented in a typical office can have real effects on your physical well-being and mental health.
Need a reason to overhaul your habits? Look no further.
1. Sitting all day could shave years off your life
Sitting for lengthy periods is terrible for your body. Aches and pains are the least of your problems — sitting too much can lead to an early death. You face a higher risk of muscular skeletal disorders, obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and more, even if you work out regularly.
Around 86% of workers sit all day at work. If you’re one of them, Alan Hedge, a design and ergonomics professor at Cornell, recommends you change to positions every eight minutes, and take a two-minute “moving break” at least twice an hour.
2. Regularly slouching in your chair can lead to long-term illnesses
If your job requires you to sit most of the day, it’s best if you get a sitting device that allows you to straighten your poor posture. If not, you’re “contributing to a pool of chronic, long-term ailments — including arthritis and bursitis”.
3. Skipping breakfast puts your body in a constant stressful state
Always on the run and don’t have time to eat the most important meal of the day? Doing this consistently will put your body in a stressful state and disrupt your metabolism.
People who don’t eat breakfast have a greater risk of high blood pressure, being overweight, and having heart issues compared to those who regularly eat within two hours of waking up.
4. Regularly eating fast food for lunch will increase your risk of heart disease
Most office-folk go out for an unhealthy lunch once in a while — some more than others — but even the occasional indulgence has negative effects.
A portion of fast food usually has around double the calories to another similar food of the same size, and it has a lot of oxidized fat, which increases the risk of heart disease.
5. Long commutes can lead to poor sleep, higher cholesterol, and an increased risk of depression
Commuting more than 10 miles by car can lead to higher blood sugar increased cholesterol, according to a study from the University School of Medicine in Saint Louis and the Cooper Institute in Dallas. It can also increase your risk of depression, anxiety, and general misery.
But public transport is no picnic, either. One UK study found that people who commute 30 minutes by bus have the lowest levels of life satisfaction, and even cyclists weren’t immune to the ill-effects of long-distance travel.
6. Motivational meetings can depress people
In order to get workers excited about the company’s mission, employers may host team-building exercises or motivational meetings.
But research has shown that forcing people to feel positive for something they’re unsure about can actually “highlight how unhappy they are” and, ultimately, will make them even more depressed.
7. Recirculated, toxic air clogs your lungs
The United States Environmental Protection Agency calls it “Sick Building Syndrome.” The air inside a building can be up to 100 times dirtier than outside, and you’re exposed to a variety of unhealthy gases and chemicals.
There are pollutants in the air conditioning, toxic particles, dangerous bacteria, and mold all flying around, especially in buildings that aren’t well taken care of.
8. Over-exposure to printers and photocopiers could lead to lung disease
Photocopiers are a source of potentially deadly ozone if the filter isn’t periodically changed, and it’s possible that even very small amounts can cause chest pain and irritation.
Laser printers do this, too, and they also release toner particles that can get in your lungs and blood stream, which could lead to lung disease and other ailments.
9. Spending too much time with a hot device on your lap lowers sperm count
If you use a laptop on your lap instead of a desk, you can experience skin problems from the heat, and there’s even more concerning news for men.
Researchers at the State University of New York found that laptops can raise the temperature of the scrotum, which could lower a man’s sperm count.
10. Working for more than 10 hours per day may lead to a heart attack
European researchers found that people who work 10 hours or more every day have a 60% greater risk of a multitude of cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and angina.
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