How much time does an average man spend in his office in a lifetime? Approximately 90,000 hours! When calculated to years, it adds up to be a little over 10 years.
Not only do we spend a significant part of our life working, it is done in the prime years of our life. Hence our working years contribute a great deal to our overall well-being and in defining our quality of life.
Most people have not looked at their work from this perspective and by the time they realise it, it has already been too late. A lot of the health issues that we face in the later years of our life are a product of our lifestyle in these years, i.e., from age 20-40. Therefore, it is pertinent that we educate ourselves on the harms that we expose ourselves to everyday at our workplace by maintaining a bad posture while working and try to minimize its effect on our life and health.
Health consequences of a poor posture-
Poor posture can cause a multitude of problems starting with giving you a slouchy look. In addition, it adds unnecessary stress to your joints and muscles, leading to fatigue and chronic pain depending on which part of your body your posture is hurting the most. Hence, musculoskeletal disorders are a growing concern among people who have spent their life at a desk job.
Some of the most common problems born out of bad posture are-
- Poor circulation-Sitting in the same position for hours does not give your body the movement and activity it needs to maintain a good circulation. It might end up causing issues like varicose veins. Research also reveals that sitting in the same position for long periods of time can be as harmful to the body as smoking one and a half pack of cigarettes a day!
- Back, neck and shoulder pain- You are probably already having this and have decided to ignore it. Back, neck and shoulder pain are the most common workplace issues faced by employees and has been normalised to a degree that it is no longer seen as a health hazard. Well, we couldn’t have been more misguided. It could not only throw your spine out of alignment but cause chronic pain long after you’ve stopped working.
- Diminish lung function- While being engrossed in work, take a moment to think about your posture. Are you leaning forward? Most people tend to lean forward and work, especially if the work they are doing demands great concentration. However, by leaning forward and hunching, you are not letting your lung function to its full potential bringing the productivity of your mind and body down by at least 30%.
- Digestive issues- You might see this as unrelated but posture affects your digestion greatly. Bad posture means compressing your digestive tract and not allowing for the digestive system to go by its usual metabolism, leading to heartburn, slow digestion and nutrition deficiency. You might be eating a very nutritious meal, but is your body really absorbing it?
These are just the most common problems that have emerged. A bad posture could be affecting your individual being in ways we may never know until a symptom develops later.
Taking breaks at regular intervals, taking a walk around the neighbourhood, figuring out the right working infrastructure for you in terms of the height of your table and the design of your chair, stretching once in a while are some ways to begin fixing the problem.
Offices and HR should also take in cognizance of the health of their employees and invest in ergonomics or the science of designing workplaces that boost efficiency and employee’s well-being.