How Optimizing Your Desk Job Can Lead To Short and Long-Term Health Benefits

photo by Flickr user Juhan Sonin

Working at home has its advantages, such as being able to wear whatever you want and remaining in the comfort of your own home during the workday. Whether you've been working at home for years or are just starting out, you've probably noticed how crucial it is to have a designated work environment that is comfortable yet healthy. We all know that sitting at a desk throughout the day each week can lead to health problems, such as heart disease and obesity. One way to counteract the sedentary lifestyle that many of us fall victim to is standing and walking routinely throughout the day. 

Desk Jobs and Related Health Issues

Knowing the numbers helps to motivate anyone who holds a desk job to take a bit of time each day for their health. Research has shown that sitting for an extended period of time, as those with desk jobs often do, can potentially be quite harmful to a person's health. According to the American Osteopathic Association, research has shown that sedentary lifestyles may be just as harmful as smoking. The source notes that individuals working sedentary desk jobs for 10 years or more double their risk of developing bowel cancer. Additionally, these people are also more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes and obesity.  Experts suggest that the reason why desk jobs put people at a higher risk for suffering from health problems later on is because the act of sitting for prolonged periods of time keeps the body from working as efficiently as it normally does. Aside from physical problems, mental health issues, including depression, have also been linked to desk jobs.

Healthier Workplace Alternatives

With so many health problems tied to sitting for prolonged periods of time at a desk, it seems like the natural way to counterbalance this issue is to move around more. Unfortunately, that's not always possible during the busy work day. Adjustable height desks make it easier to increase your energy and productivity at the office. Using a standing desk for just 10 minutes each hour of the work day can lead to a number of positive improvements in one's health, from increased blood flow to a faster metabolism, not to mention toned muscles. Standing just a little bit each hour also burns more calories than sitting at a desk, which can contribute to weight loss over time.

Small Steps Lead to Greater Rewards

It's also important to remember that sitting at a desk all day isn't good for anyone, even those who do exercise on a regular basis. According to, researchers discovered that even people who engaged in 45 to 60 minutes of exercise a day yet who also sit at a desk during the workday suffer from a higher mortality rate than individuals who are more active throughout the day. Although sitting at a desk for hours every day leads to negative health consequences, so does participating in other sedentary activities such as reading a novel or watching TV.  Study researchers discovered that during a typical 14 to 15-hour day, most people remain sedentary between 55 and 75 percent of the time. Additionally, moderate to vigorous activity comprises just five percent or less of most people's days. The bottom line is that it's vital for anyone who works a demanding desk job to get up and move around during the day. Having adjustable height desks is a great way to begin, and may even encourage employees to enjoy a more active lifestyle outside of work as well.

Ashley Andrews is a San Diego-based freelance writer who blogs on a wide range of green living, business, health and technology topics.

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