You can eat right and exercise everyday, but if you work in an office, those things can only go so far. Like it or not, we spend far more time in the workplace than we do at the gym or at the kitchen table, and with that comes a whole new set of health problems, ranging from computer headaches to back pain to germ-spreading. We found some of the most common office health problems, and how you can prevent them.
It’s hour six of staring at a computer screen, and your eyes burn and your head is pounding. Sound familiar? Luckily, there are ways to minimize the dreaded computer headache. The Mayo Clinic suggests keeping light sources to the side of your computer, not overhead, to cut down on glare, keeping your monitor 20 to 40 inches from your eyes, using a larger font so you can sit further away and still see, and cleaning your screen frequently. Wearing glasses specifically designed for reading or looking at a computer can also be helpful.
A ton of research is emerging linking prolonged sitting to everything from heart disease and slower metabolisms to bigger butts. To combat the problem, try a standing desk, or schedule breaks to take a quick walk around the office or stretch. And, if possible, walk some or all of your commute instead of driving or taking public transit.
Your mother wasn’t making it up—good posture really is important. Research shows that sitting up straight can reduce day-to-day back pain and stop chronic conditions from starting. To improve your posture, place a cushion or towel between your lower back and your chair to help support the back and prevent slouching. Strengthening your core and keeping your feet on the floor instead of crossing your legs can also do wonders for your back.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
If you have a typing-heavy job, you could be at risk for carpal tunnel. To prevent it, the Mayo Clinic suggests taking breaks to bend and stretch your wrists. But avoid bending your wrist dramatically up or down, and keep your keyboard at elbow height or just below it.
Studies show that contagious sicknesses spread incredibly fast in an office environment, so be extra careful to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching communal objects. And if you’re sick, do everyone a favor and stay home for that extra day of rest.