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Working at a Desk? Here’s How to Stay in Shape to Avoid Injuries

Lately, working at a desk job has become quite dangerous, as it’s considered underrated by workers and employers. The same wrong posture can be damaging to physical and mental health in the long run, especially when the offices are cramped. Unfortunately, people don’t have enough energy to stay in shape after spending so many hours sitting at a desk. Therefore, in this article, we’ll see some simple and effective techniques to take care of ourselves at work and avoid injuries.

Know the common desk injuries 

Whatever your desk job is, what’s for sure is that you’ve probably experienced some back pain or wrist pain at some point. That’s because our muscles are highly affected by the poor position, and we don’t let them rest enough. For example, one common injury is Carpal tunnel syndrome, which makes your hand numb and tingle due to how you hold your hand while using the keyboard and mouse. Then, you may have had headaches or migraines due to leaning forward too much to look at the computer screen. That’s because you put too much pressure on your neck and shoulders instead of relaxing them in the correct position. Finally, your hips and legs can also be affected ?they might tighten when sitting down too much and not getting up frequently for a break.

Learn how to sit properly 

The solution for all these problems is to start from the basics: learn how to sit properly at your desk. Your back should be straight, and the ideal position is to keep it as close as possible to the back of the desk’s chair. Your legs should lay on the ground, and try to avoid crossing them or putting them in any other position. Your hands have to be relaxed on the desk and the chair’s arms while trying not to move the wrists too much. According to ergonomic principles, you’re more productive if you have a good posture and know how to sit comfortably because if your body is tense, you won’t be able to concentrate as much. Therefore, the monitor should be at an arm’s length away from your eyes and try to minimise reaching as much as you can from the objects on your desk. 

Set up your desk correctly 

The next step is to consider having ergonomic office furniture that allows you to sit correctly, like a chair with adjustable back support and products that minimise back strain. Your desk should be spacious enough, and the screen needs to be adapted to your height and position so that you won’t have to lower your eyesight or look up at the computer. At the same time, the computer has to be kept at a certain distance in order for you to see the screen without straining your eyes. Your employer should be able to provide you with proper furniture and training. Even if these injuries don’t seem too troubling, there is always a risk of developing serious complications in the future. Know that if you suffered due to your employer’s negligence and lack of training, you could make a compensation claim. According to injuryatworkclaimsexpert.co.uk, there were more than 50,000 non-fatal injuries in the UK last year, and there might be more that were not reported, so don't hesitate to claim your rights. Ergonomic furniture is able to let your body sit in a healthy position. For example, chairs should encourage movement, with mechanisms that let you change postures effortlessly. The best monitors are the ones that don’t add too much space to your desk (with ergonomic arms). Additionally, a sit-stand product will let you place the monitor however you like (for example, if you like working while on your feet). Keyboards should allow you to adopt a neutral posture on your hands. Finally, lighting is also important because the poor quality of light can cause damage to your eyes and headaches. Therefore, LEDs are the best solution rather than regular light bulbs, and they’re also saving on energy.

Take regular breaks 

Having the right equipment and knowing how to sit properly is important, but you also need to take breaks regularly. That means that it would be best to get up and move around for a few minutes after one hour of sitting down. If the job permits, you can take a walk outside the office and spend some time clearing your mind and relaxing your body. You can have a smartwatch that you can set to remind you to take breaks or drink water and even challenge you to take more steps throughout the day. Additionally, you can try some simple office exercises to release the tension in your muscles. For example, try this exercise to strengthen your back: sit up and place your hands on your thighs. Rotate your shoulders forward and backwards ten times each. For your legs, you can do some leg lifts. While sitting on your chair, lift one leg straight until your hamstring comes off the seat and hold it for 20 seconds; repeat with the other leg. 

Adopt a healthy lifestyle 

Finally, it’s more likely to get injured when you have a poor lifestyle regarding your meals and the frequency of physical activity. When choosing healthy and nutritious foods, your bones and muscles will be strengthened, and by exercising, you’re making your body get used to the motion. This is another thing that your employer should consider providing. If they ensure your gym subscription, or if they have a good company culture that embraces healthy choices, it’s more likely you’ll make the same choices. Moreover, smoking or drinking will also weaken your body, so if you want to have a balanced lifestyle, try to adopt better habits into your life. 

Wrapping up 

Nowadays, due to continuous work, people are more affected by office jobs. Therefore, employers should focus more on training regarding good posture and adopting ergonomic furniture to ensure safety and productivity.

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