I love what I do, but what I don’t love is that writing has me chained to my computer much of the day. I am lucky enough to work from home so I can take breaks when needed, and I can open windows for fresh air. But if you are sitting at a desk in an office building all day every day, your job might actually be killing you.
Here are some specifics you may not have realized about how your job might be making you unhealthy:
I was shocked to find out that more than 80 percent of Americans sit all day at work. And who knew that sitting for long periods of time can actually lead to an early death? People who sit too much are at a higher risk of developing muscular skeletal disorders, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
Are you up and out the door in the morning with nothing more than a cup of coffee? Just keep in mind that skipping breakfast is stressful on your body. And if you eat fast food for lunch, you are really increasing your risk of getting high blood pressure and developing heart disease.
We all have to do it, but breathing inside a building can expose us to a variety of unhealthy chemicals and gases. Any HVAC system spews toxic particles, mold, and bacteria into the air of a building. The Environmental Protection Agency even has a name for it: “sick building syndrome.”
If you’re like most Americans, you may well work more than 10 hours a day, which can ultimately lead to heart attack—as much as a 60 percent increase in risk. If you work odd hours, such as in the evenings, this puts you at greater risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Along these same lines, many people do not use their vacation time either, even though the average is a mere 10 days per year compared to a full month in many other countries.
Excessive amounts of typing—something to which most of us can relate—is a well-known reason many people develop carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful wrist strain with pain that radiates up the arm. It can be bad enough to permanently damage the nerve. Something else you may not have thought of is the danger of dirty keyboards, which are a breeding ground for nasty bacteria.
Being aware of how your job can be making you unhealthy can help you diminish some of the problems it can cause. Eating a healthy diet, getting up and moving during the day, taking plenty of breaks (including vacation), and sleeping enough are all common sense—if only we all had the sense to implement them!