by Amanda Hawkins
Sitting for multiple hours a day adversely affects your metabolic functions. In other words, you burn less calories as you sit, which in turn leads to weight gain and a plethora of other health problems like a higher risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Whether you live to work or work to live, there are some scary side effects.
1. It’s making you sick.
A study from the National Science Foundation found that 26 percent of Americans go to work when they are sick, and another 34 percent wait until they experience the “full effect” of their symptoms before they decide to stay home. Not only are offices full of bacteria (like, more than 500 types of bacteria), but your sick desk mate will probably wait until the last minute before heading home early.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also warns against something called “Sick Building Syndrome”: Situations when multiple workers complain of similar symptoms such as headache, sore throat, headache, fatigue, and dizziness and nausea, but no specific illness can be identified. At least office camaraderie will be high when you’re all facing the same mysterious illness together.
2. It’s making you fat.
According to an ongoing Australian health study, sitting for multiple hours a day adversely affects your metabolic functions. In other words, you burn less calories as you sit, which in turn leads to weight gain and a plethora of other health problems like a higher risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It also increases your overall risk of death: Women who sit more than six hours a day are about 40 percent more likely to die than those who sat for less than three hours a day. Oh, and that nap room your progressive boss just created for everyone? Also, not good for you.
3. It’s hurting your back. And shoulders. And neck.
On the flip side, standing all day is pretty much the worst, too. Those who stand for prolonged periods of time are at a higher risk for poor circulation and swelling in their limbs, and back pain is twice as common in occupations that require standing all day versus those who sit. But sitting hunched over a computer leads to its own mixed bag of chronic back, shoulder, neck, and wrist problems. (Learn the best way to set up your desk for maximum comfort here.)
4. It’s ruining your eyes.
Ever heard of “Computer Vision Syndrome?” Yep, it’s a disorder to describe the vision-related problems you might get from prolonged computer use. The symptoms range from painful, dry eyes and headaches, to neck and shoulder pain, and even blurred vision. Thankfully, they are generally temporary, but you should try to look away from your computer screen at least once an hour.
5. It’s stressing you out.
A lot. According to a nationwide poll by the American Psychological Association (APA), three-quarters of Americans list work as a main source of stress. The APA also noted that many of those who experience stress also experience physical symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, nausea, and emotional responses like anger. Over half of those surveyed stated that their stress also negatively affects their productivity.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the more work stress in one’s life, the higher the risk for injury and illness. The American Institute of Stress has even more startling stats about workplace stress here.
6. It’s wrecking your relationships.
The APA found that 61 percent of women said that their stressful jobs had a negative impact on their relationships outside of the office. (In men, the troubled relationship figure was much higher: 79 percent.)
Read more in Cosmopolitan
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