We’re an incredibly adaptive animal, ready and willing to accommodate new situations. However, cultural adaptations often come with detrimental effects on our health.
Biologically speaking, we’re not cut out for an office environment. It’s a sedentary, indoor lifestyle, with a lot of time spent sitting. Quite often, there’s stress involved, and it’s not unusual for nutrition and exercise to take a back seat as far as priorities are concerned.
There are lots of bad office habits that threaten our health, but in this article, we’re looking at three of the most destructive ones:
Poor posture has a detrimental impact on respiration and the spine, which in turn can affect digestion, muscles, and mood.
When we sit hunched over a desk or computer, hips, shoulders, and curved spine forming a cage around constricted organs, we’re partially blocking off our air supply.
The average human head weighs approximately 5kg. It's supported by seven cervical vertebrae in the neck, held together by ligaments. Numerous muscle groups in the neck, shoulders, and upper back work to maintain ergonomic posture and to support and manipulate the head.
The human body is most comfortable when shoulders are above the hips, head is in an upright position, and the three natural curves of the spine are relaxed and unexaggerated. Most of us who work at a desk curve our spines, hunch our shoulders, and bend our heads forward.
This is the ideal position:
If your office furniture isn’t perfect for this ideal position, try making some adjustments. For example:
It’s so often the case that office workers spend the whole working day, including breaks, sitting at a desk. To stay healthy, we need to move and we need to rest our minds.
Standing burns about 50% more energy than sitting. Standing upright opens up your chest and abdomen, facilitating respiration and digestion. Blood flow is improved by the contraction and relaxation of your calf muscles.
After about 45 minutes of focused concentration, our attention wanders, and we work less effectively. A quick walk up and down stairs, or just getting up to look out of the window, make a cup of tea, or do some photocopying will refresh your mind for another 45 minutes of focused attention.
About 50% of the water in our bodies comes from drinking, and approximately 40% is from our food. Metabolic water, a by-product of cellular respiration, accounts for around 10%. Water, which makes up more than half a person’s body weight, is essential for every function of the body.
Dehydration can have a devastating impact on concentration and mood, causing tiredness, disorientation, confusion, headaches, irritability, and light-headedness.
Even 2% dehydration can impair cognitive performance, and 3% dehydration can slow down your reaction time to the same extent as 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC). Bearing in mind that with 0.08 BAC you’re five times more likely (compared to 0.00 BAC) to be involved in a road traffic accident, the result of 3% hydration could mean greater risk of a workplace accident.
Thirst is the most obvious signal of dehydration, but as we age, our thirst reflex weakens, so we must be aware of our fluid intake and stay hydrated, even if we’re not thirsty.
It’s always a good idea to stand up frequently and walk around. Regular trips to the hot-water dispenser for a cup of tea or coffee will not only ensure that you’re hydrating, but will also provide opportunity to stretch your legs and get a change of scene.
If you’re going into a long meeting, why not fill a water bottle to take in with you. Frequent sips of water throughout the meeting will keep your blood hydrated so it flows easily through your body to nourish your trillions of cells.
At Aqua Libra Co, we know a lot about hydration and water dispense. Find out more at https://aqualibra.com/