Desk Job: How it affects the Body

Do you have an active lifestyle or a sedentary one? In today’s fast-tech world, people are taken out of the production line and planted in front of a computer screen, as we discover even more ways to make machines do the work while we only supervise, paving the way for more desk jobs.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, even if workers get the minimum amount of exercise each day as recommended by experts, including at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity five days a week and two to three weekly sessions of weight training, it’s still not enough to undo the damage done by hours of sitting in front of a computer. The problem is that sitting behind a desk all day isn’t particularly good for the human body, which is designed for motion.

Here’s a few more ways that a desk job may be hastening your death:

Working long hours

Pulling more than 11 hours a day can cause heart problems, including substantially elevated risks of heart attack and heart pain. Also there is elevated cortisol secretion into the bloodstream; cortisol has been termed “the stress hormone” because it’s also secreted in higher levels during the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response to stress, and is responsible for several stress-related changes in the body.


As a species we are designed for movement. What most doctors will tell you is the fact that being crouched on a chair over a desk all day long is one of the most harmful things you can do to your back (Spine). Normally, you would have to only keep the seated position for an hour before standing up and taking a few steps in order to let the back straighten and keep the blood flow normal.

Computer screen

Some of the most commonly reported problems by desk job patients are eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain. While its true that today’s computer screens emit close to no harmful radiation, there are other aspects to consider when staring into a display all day long. One of the most important points we tend to forget is the fact that the human eye is like any other functional muscle. That’s right. There are muscles in and around your eyes. And those muscles need to move, they need to be stretched just like leg and arm muscles so they don’t lose their tone. If you stare at something that’s 15” wide, at a given distance from the eyes, those muscles don’t get too much exercise. And in time, it will harm them.

Air conditioning

Sure, it’s great to have a system which gives just the right temperature and humidity at the push of a button. And now we have special pollen and dust filters which make for great breathing air. But just like in the case of the eye muscles, the body needs to self regulate its temperature, so it doesn’t go lazy. That might sound funny, but it’s actually quite serious. Our bodies have very complex mechanisms in gear when regulating the internal temperature. If the body doesn’t exercise these mechanisms on a constant basis, then they go numb and might fail completely if we want to reboot them. Women especially have hormonal disturbances due to such mechanisms being abused leading to obesity, PCOD, Thyroid related irregularities etc…

The ones above are a few ways in which a desk job affects the human body.  Of course this doesn’t mean that your job will end up killing you. But it does mean that, if you’re not careful, it will take a toll on your body and its normal functioning parameters.

Your computer may have been designed to work for a straight 8, 10, or 12 hours a day. But you were not. Make no mistake: “Regularly exercising is not the same as being active,” What this means for you: Please continue getting your daily physical activity in, but be aware that your sitting time can’t be compensated for.


  • During your lunch break, take a walk and eat your lunch somewhere other than in your office.
  • Get up, stretch, and walk a few steps whenever you can sneak in a short break.
  • Use active transportation: walk to work, bike to work, walk up the escalator instead of standing on it after you get off the LRT, park somewhere cheaper and walk the rest of the way to work.
  • Eat a balanced, nutrient dense diet. Your muscles, joints, and soft tissue require the proper nutrition in order to function properly. I always insist on  “You are what you eat,” after all.

I’m sure there are other wonderful ideas you can think of to minimize the time you have to spend sitting!

If I can teach you anything, it is to think for yourself, instead of being told what to think.