The Top 5 Body Ailments While At Your Desk – And How to Fix Them

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By Steve Barker

deskOne thing is for sure, the human body was not designed to sit behind a desk all day, staring at a screen. As a result of making our body do something it wasn’t meant for, we get sore shoulders, achy necks, strained forearms, and the list goes on. According to an article published by the Washington Post, people who watched 7 plus hours of TV in an 8 year period had a 61 percent higher risk of dying. But since so many jobs revolve around sitting at one’s desk. If we are still working toward that goal of having enough money for early retirement, what’s a desk worker to do?

Fortunately, there are products on the market and things we can do to prevent or minimize common desk-related aches and pains.

1. Your wrist and forearms hurt.

Your fingers weren’t made to hit little square bits of plastic over and over. In fact, doing so puts you at risk of repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel syndrome. But there is a way to combat this pain.

Ergonomic keyboards were created to cause the least amount of stress and tension on your arms and wrists. Generally, ergonomic keyboards feature a gentle slope so that your arms are resting at an angle, versus flat on your desk. The keyboard also features keys that are aligned to your hands’ natural position on the keyboard. Ergonomic keyboards can range from moderately priced models to products upwards of $200.

2. The base of your neck and your shoulders are tense.

Right now, as you read this article, evaluate how you are sitting. What angle is your head at? Is it looking straight ahead to read? Or is your head tilted downward at a slight angle? When your head tilts forward, this places undue stress on the base of the neck and shoulders, causing the muscles here to contract and tighten. If these muscles are not massaged and loosened, then you become susceptible to further pain complications. The solution? Massage where it hurts or feels stiff. And no, you don’t need to book an appointment at the massage parlor. Use your fingers, or even better, buy a handheld massager that you can pull out whenever your shoulders need a rub. You should feel an almost immediate relief from pain.

3. Your lower back hurts.

According to WebMD, it happens to everyone. The lumbar region, that part of your back below your rib cage, is where you feel the pain. It can be caused by lifting something too heavy, but also from sitting too long on a chair that causes you to lean forward, or slouch. Lumbar support cushions can help to minimize your lower back pain. These come in cushions you sit on, or cushions that you put at the small of your back. Do a Google search for lumbar support and you’ll find a line up targeted to preventing lower back ailments.

4. You feel stiff and creaky.

Being in one position for too long can cause problems. Even if you have correct posture, and you are getting good support for your back, shoulders, and wrists. Maybe you get up and stretch at the top of every hour, yet you still feel creaky? One factor that could be contributing to your stiffness is the need to hydrate and stay hydrated. Your body consists of 50 to 60 percent water. This water is used up throughout the day and needs replenishing. If you begin to feel sluggish and creaky, it could be that you need to chug a glass of water.

You do not need to endure pain at your desk. With just a little research, modification, and adjustment, you could be improving the quality of your work life. Not only that, you could be preventing some other serious ailments down the line. Take control of your pain by doing something about it now.

Exploring The Big Benefits Of A Standing Desk

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By Steven Walker

deskNew research and science are increasingly showing the negative impact of a sedentary lifestyle, and this includes spending many hours seated at a desk while you’re in the workplace. Some of the risks of long periods of sitting include weight gain and obesity, an increased risk of diabetes, and a higher likelihood of developing heart disease. According to the Guide to Sitting Disease from Beyond the Office Door, 50 to 70 percent of people spend at least six hours sitting every day.

To combat these issues, more and more workers are opting for a standing desk over the traditional office setup where they’re seated for the majority of their workday.

If you’re considering the use of a standing desk, you may be wondering what the benefits are, specifically, of this type of setup.

Below are a few of the biggest standing desk benefits that can have a positive impact on almost anyone.

Preventing Weight Gain and Increasing the Number of Calories Burned

When you’re seated, you’re burning very few calories, which can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of obesity. Consider these figures, based on the use of the Calorie Calculator from JustStand.org, which show that a 150-pound person who works seven hours a day would burn 788 calories while sitting, as compared to 1050 calories if they stand while working. That’s an additional 262 calories a day just from moving from sitting to standing at work.

Reduction in Back Pain

Many of us have significant back pain, and this can lead to more serious injuries and chronic suffering. Back pain can hinder our lifestyles and our productivity, but a lot of workers find that standing for at least a portion of this work day can help them alleviate some of their back and also neck discomfort. Much of this comes from the fact that sitting at a desk can lead to poor posture and slumping, which isn’t going to occur with a standing desk, particularly if you focus on standing up straight and maintaining good alignment.

More Alert and Productive

It’s not just physical improvements that you might see from making a move from a sitting to a standing desk. It can also lead to mental improvements that can make you more alert and productive throughout the day. When you’re sitting for long periods, you may tend to get drowsy which can lead to declines in your energy and productivity level. When you’re standing you’re naturally more energized, so you may find that in addition to feeling better, you can get more done in a shorter amount of time.

Improved Mood and Energy

According to research conducted by the Take a Stand Project, after a seven-week study, participants who used a standing desk said they had less fatigue and stress than the participants who were seated during their entire work day.

Also interesting was the fact that 87% of the people who used a standing desk said they felt like their vigor and energy levels were improved.

As part of the study participants went back to the original seated desks, and mood levels seemed to go back to their previous levels.

These are just a few of the many advantages of standing at the workplace, rather than remaining seated, and all of which can be good not just at the office, but for health and mental wellness outside of work as well.

What Your Desk Secretly Says About You

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By Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH

workdeskAre you the kind of person who needs to keep things in sight so you’ll remember to accomplish them? Or, are you able to file things out of sight and still remember to complete them, or where you put them? Are you a list maker or a post-it freak or are you 100% electronic? Pam Young and Peggy Jones, The Sidetracked Home Executives wrote: “you’re either born organized or you’re born sidetracked;” it’s genetic, they believe, like having blue or brown eyes. Your DNA might very well influence what your desk looks like.

There is also a psychology profile behind how you work. Is your mess preventing you from being your best and most efficient self? Are you hiding behind stacks of work in order to appear like you’re busy and worthwhile? Or, no matter what it looks like to others, are you able to put your hands on exactly what you need with speed and clarity making you appear sleek and efficient?

Every disorganized stack on your desk requires space in your head to remember what it is and where pieces of information are located. If you file things in an orderly fashion, you free up memory cells and psychic space which, in turn, leaves more room for creativity. If you’re always looking for paperwork, reports, or “stuff” then you’re wasting valuable time backtracking instead of moving ahead.

Here are five tips to solve your desk clutter:

1. Take everything off your desk and put it on the floor. (Yes, the floor.)

2. Sort through the stuff. Find two wastebaskets and throw out everything that isn’t essential to your work.

3. Think of your desk as a pilot sees a cock pit: keep only those things in front of you that you frequently use.

4. Buy a two-tiered tray for your paperwork and create a to-do list in a spiral note book or electronically. Label each tier: 1) ACTIVE paperwork; 2) COMPLETED paperwork (ready to send on or file). Follow the to-do list to accomplish Active tasks.

5. Calendar a time to file once a week. Put your favorite music on, turn off the phone and file for 15 minutes. Don’t put this off.

These five actions will keep you organized so you can be more efficient and creative.

On the other hand, Albert Einstein had a very messy desk, as did Mark Twain and Steve Jobs. Does that mean that if your desk is messy, you’re a genius? You can certainly try to promote that concept, but you’re the only one who knows if this is true or not for you. Consider this quote from Albert Einstein, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?” You’ll have to really give that some thought. In the meantime, unless your IQ is over 160, clear your clutter!

– Kac Young has a PhD in Natural Health, a Doctorate in Naturopathy and a Doctorate in Clinical Hypnotherapy. She is a former television producer/director, a licensed Religious Science Minister, a spiritual counselor and the author of 11 books. Please visit kacyoung.com