21 Ways Your Office Job Is Destroying Your Body
Booby traps await in every cubicle
The stress, long hours, and sedentary nature of your modern office job are sucking the life out of you - literally.
Aside from the tight deadlines, bad food habits, and being cooped up with other people's germs, plenty of things you do every day in the workplace are killing you.
From the printer to your keyboard, the dangers presented in a typical office can have real effects on your physical well-being and mental health.
21. Sitting all day could shave years off your life.
Sitting for lengthy periods is terrible for your body. Aches and pains are the least of your problems - sitting too much can lead to an early death. You face a higher risk of muscular skeletal disorders, obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and more, even if you work out regularly.
Around 86% of American workers sit all day at work.
20. Regularly slouching in your can chair lead to long-term illnesses.
If your job requires you to sit most of the day, it's best if you get a sitting device that allows you to straighten your poor posture. If not, you're "contributing to a pool of chronic, long-term ailments - including arthritis and bursitis."
19. Using a treadmill desk increases your chances of physically hurting yourself.
Although a treadmill desk may help with the risk of obesity and heart disease, these desks are also prone to increased typos and might cause you to fall more often than merely sitting in a chair.
18. Skipping breakfast puts your body in a constant stressful state.
Always on the run and don't have time to eat the most important meal of the day? Doing this consistently will put your body in a stressful state and disrupt your metabolism. People who don't eat breakfast have a greater risk of high blood pressure, being overweight, and having heart issues compared to those who regularly eat within two hours of waking up.
17. Regularly eating fast food for lunch will increase your risk of heart disease.
Most office-folk go out for an unhealthy lunch once in a while - some more than others - but even the occasional indulgence has negative effects. A portion of fast food usually has around double the calories to another similar food of the same size, and they have a lot of oxidized fat, which increases the risk of heart disease.
16. Motivational meetings can depress people
In order to get workers excited about the company's mission, employers may host team-building exercises or motivational meetings.
But research has shown that forcing people to feel positive for something they're unsure about can actually "highlight how unhappy they are" and, ultimately, will make them even more depressed.
15. Recirculated, toxic air clogs your lungs.
The EPA calls it "Sick Building Syndrome." The air inside a building can be up to 100 times dirtier than outside, and you're exposed to a variety of unhealthy gases and chemicals. There are pollutants in the air conditioning, toxic particles, dangerous bacteria and mold all flying around, especially in buildings that aren't well taken care of.
14. Over-exposure to printers and photocopiers could lead to lung disease.
Photocopiers are a source of potentially deadly ozone if the filter isn't periodically changed, and even small amounts can cause chest pain and irritation. Laser printers do, too, along with toner particles that can get in your lungs and blood stream, which could lead to lung disease and other ailments.
13. Spending too much time with a hot device on your lap lowers sperm count.
If you use a laptop on your lap instead of a desk, you can experience skin problems from the heat, and there's even more concerning news for men. New York University researchers found that laptops can raise the temperature of the scrotum, which could lower a man's sperm count.
12. Working for more than 10 hours per day may lead to a heart attack.
European researchers found that people who work 10 hours or more every day have a 60% greater risk of a multitude of cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and angina.
11. Working odd hours can cause weight gain and increase stress hormones.
Those who mostly work in the evenings - such as programmers - are at greater risk for Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. As tested by Harvard researchers in 2009, people who woke up later in the day showed a decline in leptin, a hormone responsible for curbing appetites, and an increase in the stress-related hormone cortisol.
10. Endlessly staring at a computer screen harms your vision.
Even though computer screens don't give off radiation, the strain from staring over long periods of time can cause harm to your vision, though many effects are temporary. Beyond that, you can also experience headaches and migraines.
9. Being exposed to way too much light increases stress, fatigue, and blood pressure.Over-illumination can cause you many more problems than an everyday headache. Our body treats over-illumination as total darkness, so it messes with our internal clocks. Health problems can include a particularly high level of fatigue, stress, high blood pressure and an increased risk of certain carcinomas.
8. Extreme boredom may make you more likely to die from heart disease or stroke.
Boredom can actually shorten your life, according to researchers. A study from University College London showed that those who complain of boredom are more likely to die young, and those who report high levels of tedium are much more likely to die from heart disease or stroke. It also puts you at higher risk for workplace accidents.
7. Dirty keyboards are as dangerous as E. coli and coliforms.
Keyboards can be a breeding ground for bacteria if not kept clean. Microbiologists found that keyboards can even have up to five times as many bacteria as a bathroom, and can include dangerous ones like E. coli and coliforms - both commonly associated with food poisoning - along with staphylococcus, which causes a range of infections.
6. Germs are everywhere in the office.
Your keyboard isn't the only bacteria farm in the office. Door and faucet knobs, handles, elevator and printer buttons, hand-shakes and more all are hotspots for bacteria. Microbes are everywhere, and some can even kill you.
5. Typing too much leads to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Excessive amounts of typing is a well-known cause of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), which is a painful wrist strain that can go up your arm. CTS can get bad enough to cause permanent nerve damage and muscle wasting.
4. Tight deadlines negatively affect your learning and memory.
You get stressed out when you have to meet a strict deadline, which can affect your learning and memory according to Science Daily. This sort of short-term stress can be just as bad as stress that lasts weeks or months.
3. Keeping your mouse in the same spot makes you prone to repetitive strain injury.
If your mouse stays in the same spot all day, you can be prone to repetitive strain injury (RSI). Upper limb RSI occurs when your tendons are straining more than they should for long periods of time, which can be because of movement repetition, a sustained awkward position, or prolonged pressing against hard surfaces.
2. Smartphone overuse may eventually weaken your hands and wrists.
People who use their smartphones heavily to text and email are prone to muscle fatigue and "Blackberry Thumb," which is a type of RSI. The effects can get so bad that the pain can reach all the way up to your wrist and can be utterly debilitating to your hands.
1. Uncomfortable shoes may eventually lead to spinal injuries, muscle spasms, and chronic headaches.
Those power woman pumps you're wearing might make you feel tall and confident, but they're also harming your body in surprising ways.
Between 2005 and 2009, women's visits to doctors for their feet increased by 75%, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
Wearing uncomfortable shoes can lead to spinal injuries, muscle spasms, and even chronic headaches and migraines. Furthermore, the more pain you feel, the more likely you'll sit for longer periods, which leads to a slew of health problems on its own.