Whether it's working or watching the newest, funniest YouTube video, digital life causes many people to slouch in their seats. Unfortunately, the harm it can do is no laughing matter. Bad seating posture has been consistently linked to back pain, weakened muscles, and reduced height over time.
In one study done on office workers, it was found that 58% had eye strain, 45% had shoulder pain, 43% had back pain, 35% had arm pain, and 30% had neck and wrist pain.
Here are 5 adverse effects on the body that can occur from sitting at your desk for too long and how to prevent them.
Strained Neck and Shoulders
It's common to hold your neck and head forward while working at a computer or cradling a phone to your ear. Looking down at your computer monitor all day can cause the muscles around the neck joints to tire and become overstretched. Driving for long periods of time or looking at your
Putting your monitor at eye level, sitting up straight and avoiding tilting and twisting your head down or to the side while you’re on the computer can help you avoid neck pain. When you’re driving or looking at your
Here are some stretches you can try at your desk or in the car that may help you to avoid a stiff neck:
- Roll your shoulders backwards and down 10 times
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together 10 times
- Push your head backwards into your car head rest or hands and hold for 30 seconds
- Bring your ear to your shoulder 10 times on each side
Sitting puts more pressure on your spine than standing, and the toll on your back health is even worse if you're sitting hunched in front of a computer. It's estimated that 40 percent of people with back pain have spent long hours at their computer each day.
The disks in your back are meant to expand and contract as you move, which allows them to absorb blood and nutrients. When you sit, the disks are compressed and can lose flexibility over time. Sitting excessively can also increase your risk of herniated disks.
You probably spend more than a third of your existence at a desk chair, so do what you can to make sure you’re
Like many people who have to use a computer all day, every day, as part of their job, you can find that you regularly get a painful or numb feeling in wrists and arms.
The problem is you are stretching and twisting your hands and fingers to type, and typing with furious speed and force. The pain and fatigue here may also be due to carpal tunnel syndrome, which can include tingling, numbness and shooting pains through the hands and wrist.
If your keyboard is angled up, switch the stand on the back of it to keep it laying flat. Adjust the height of your chair to keep your elbows as close as possible to a 90-degree angle and keep your arms close to your sides. Typing all day can do a number on your wrists, so give them a break with a gentle stretch.
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With so many of us using computers at work, computer eye strain has become a major job-related complaint. Studies show that eye strain and other bothersome visual symptoms occur in 50 to 90 percent of computer workers. Eyestrain means different things to different people. It can be experienced as burning, tightness, sharp pains, dull pains, watering, blurring, double vision, headaches, and other sensations, depending on the person. If you have any eye discomfort caused by viewing something, you can call it eyestrain.
Ensure proper lighting. Try the visor test to determine if current lighting is a problem: look at the monitor and cup your hands over your eyes like a baseball cap. If your eyes immediately feel better, then the lighting should be changed. Experiment with brighter and dimmer lighting, as well as the angle of the lights, to find what’s most comfortable for your eyes.
Blink frequently. It should prevent dry eyes. If that doesn’t work, consider using lubricating eye drops.
Take regular work breaks. Stand, stretch or just look off into the distance, away from the computer, every 15 minutes or so to give the eyes a break.
Try computer glasses. Unlike everyday
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You’ve probably experienced those moments when you get up from a sitting position and your butt feels numb and your hips feel so tight that you have to lean forward at the waist just to walk. Excessive sitting leaves your hips and legs tight and your glutes inactive. The more we sit, the tighter our hips get.
Taking a break every few hours to do these simple movements will keep tension from building and help keep you limber throughout the day.
Try doing a stretch to release tight hip flexors. Kneel on your left knee—like you are about to propose to someone—and place your right foot forward with your right knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Shift your pelvis forward, bend your front knee and tuck your butt under until you feel a deeper stretch in the left hip. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch legs.
Stand up from your desk at regular intervals to give your muscles a break and increase circulation. In a perfect world, get up from your desk every 20 to 30 minutes.