Working in an office all day is often considered to be among the easiest jobs one can do, and the least harmful physically. People who work in more physically active jobs such as construction can often be dismissive and refuse to belive that it’s ‘real work’. On the other hand, they might also often find themselves wishing they could ‘take it easy’ behind a desk.
However, you should be careful what you wish for. It turns out that, in many ways, working in an office environment for the long-term could actually be far more detrimental to your health than an outside job.
Human beings aren’t designed to sit down for 8 hours a day – it’s contrary to everything we’ve done for the past thousands of years.
Living this sedentary lifestyle can cause all kinds of health problems in the long run, a lot of which are difficult to detect and will happen gradually over a long period of time.
This includes things like neck and joint aches, which come as a result of being hunched over a computer all day. There is also the increased risk of obesity that office workers have, caused by a combination of sitting and snacking.
There is also one affliction in particular that is giving the medical profession cause for concern, with how common it is in office workers.
The condition is called gluteus medius tendinopathy, commonly known as ‘dead butt syndrome’. People who sit still for hours on end, such as your typical office worker, are much more prone to getting it.
This results in the gluteus muscles forgetting they have to work at all and experiencing a kind of atrophy, distributing the workload among other body parts.
Muscle tone will begin to decrease, leaving you more susceptible to pains in the waist, knees, and pelvis. After all, the human body is a complex system that suffers as a whole if one part of it breaks down.
The gluteus muscles serve as buffers during movement, and if they weaken, the load is distributed unevenly, which may lead to serious injuries.
Luckily, there are some practical steps that you can take to remedy this, or to pre-empt it and avoid it altogether. If you work in an office, pay attention to the following tips:
Rise from your chair regularly
Obviously, if you’re working for someone else, you are limited in how often you can move away from your desk. However, you should make an effort to stand up or walk around the office as often as possible.
Go up and down the stairs for at least a couple of floors
This will remind your butt muscles that they are needed, and will give them an overdue workout. It’s also good for your overall fitness levels.
Do exercises that activate the gluteus muscles
These would include exercises such as squats or leg stretches. There are numerous machines commonly found in gyms which are specifically designed to work that muscle group – next time you’re down there, just ask a member of staff for some advice.
Make a crab posture to reinforce the gluteus muscles
Obviously, you probably won’t be able to do this in the office, at least not without looking like some kind of lunatic. Maybe it’d be best to save this one for when you get home.
Alternately lift and lower your legs under the desk
Try to stretch your legs out as much as possible while you’re sitting down doing work – it takes very little effort, and will be immensely helpful to your overall health.
Purchase a gym ball, and sit on it instead of a chair
Again, this is not one for the office, but at home this will be a big help. The instability of the gym ball will force your butt muscles to work harder to keep you in place and stop you from falling off it.
There are tons of other exercises you can use it for, too – it’s pretty amazing how something so simple can have so many uses!
All of these tips are pretty easy to do, and will make a big positive difference to your overall wellbeing. But remember, folks – I’m not a doctor! If you have any major concerns with what we’ve covered here, or any other aspect of your health, you should seek the advice of a medical professional.
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