With more and more workforce stuck in offices, it could seem like a good idea to consider the health risks related to a desk position. While you may encounter a lot less work-related injuries – and that even includes pointy scissors and strong staplers – it doesn’t mean that working in an office is safe. In fact, it’s the opposite: Office works are a serious risk to your health.
Did you know that Britain is often referred to as the fat man of Europe? The reason behind this somehow unflattering nickname has nothing to do with Brexit-related animosity. It’s a medical fact that one in four British adults is obese, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. In 2013, the UK had the highest level of obesity in Western Europe, with almost 25%, compared to France where only 15.6% of the population is obese. It comes as no surprise that the cause of the obesity epidemic is linked to our modern lifestyle. High-calorie food and takeaways are the main factors to blame for it. But desk-bound jobs play a significant role in the general health of the British population.
Office work isn’t healthy
Even though the work environment is a lot safer than if you were working on a construction site, sitting 8 hours a day at your desk puts your body through a lot of unhealthy pressure. Indeed, the level of inactivity during the day can put your health at risk, especially as you grow older. The human body is indeed designed to be active. Sitting down for too long can lead to organ damages. For instance, your pancreas tends to produce high amounts of insulin when the body is inactive for too long, which can develop into diabetes in later years. Your brain and muscles are degenerate gradually, as they are not supplied with boosts of oxygen and fresh blood. And finally, you gain weight, because you’re likely to eat more than you need – which collides against a slow metabolism, as it is often the case when you’re inactive for too long.
Finding a compromise
Naturally, when you work long hours, it’s not always easy to schedule the time to go to the gym at the end of a long day. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make exercises part of your daily routine. You need to compromise between comfort and sports while maintaining your work/life balance. If you don’t have time for a workout at the gym, how about joining the cycle scheme programme? This scheme can be supported by your employer, which means that you can bu
y a reduced bike if you choose to cycle to work every day. It’s a great way to get fit naturally.
Think of your safety first
Admittedly; the first thing you need to consider when you buy a bike is to find a way of keeping it secure. In urban areas, using a padlock is a common but effective way. If your employer offers a private parking facility, you might want to discuss the available options to secure your bike. Some companies have private bike parking areas that are behind locked doors. Additionally, you need to consider a cycle insurance, as riding a bike in town can be dangerous. Ultimately, you need to pay close attention to cars and their dead angles. If you can see a car, it doesn’t mean that the driver can see you. So think ahead and be careful in traffic. Contrary to the common belief, not all bike-related accidents are caused by careless drivers. More often than not, the fault is equally shared. Unfortunately, as you don’t have the same level of protection than a person sitting in a car, you don’t have the luxury of not being attentive on the road.
Remember: the healthy snack
Finally, you can’t ignore hunger. It’s normal to need a snack throughout the day, even if your work isn’t highly active. The main problem with workplace-related obesity is not that people overeat, but that they eat the wrong thing. If you need a snack, pick a fruit instead of a pack of crisps. You can even pack some healthy snacks with you. A handful of nuts and some string cheese can keep you satisfied until your next meal. If you love dairy products, pack a greek yoghurt with a handful of fresh berries and nuts. In short, think outside of the realm of high-fat snacks.
The bottom line is that you can’t use your desk job as an excuse for poor health. Staying healthy is your responsibility, and, ultimately, you need to work at it. It doesn’t come naturally to anybody.
Thanks for reading.