HEALTH

From the mouse that is freez­ing up your wrist and shoul­ders, the chair that is hurt­ing your back to the air­con that is freez­ing you numb, Mri­nal Shekar finds out how to deal with er­gonomics is­sues that are a pain in the neck … lit­er­ally

Friday - - Contents -

Your of­fice chair could be killing you: A low­down on er­gonomics.

SSit­ting is the new smok­ing. No, this is not scare­mon­ger­ing pro­pa­ganda but the con­clu­sion of years of re­search con­ducted by Dr James Levine on how seden­tary life­style is caus­ing per­ma­nent harm to our bod­ies. The Amer­i­can in­ven­tor of the tread­mill desk, Dr Levine fur­ther said that, ‘Sit­ting is in fact more dan­ger­ous than smok­ing, kills more peo­ple than HIV and is more treach­er­ous than parachut­ing.’ And to drive home his point, Dr Levine fur­ther said, ‘We are sit­ting our­selves to death.’ Fur­ther­more, Dr Levine’s stud­ies have proven that ef­fects of long-term sit­ting are not re­versible through ex­er­cise or other good habits. ‘Sit­ting, like smok­ing, is very clearly bad for our health and the only way to min­imise the risk is to limit the time we spend on our butts each day,’ he said.

He and sev­eral other re­searchers have found ev­i­dence that long-term sit­ting ‘in­creases the risk of de­vel­op­ing sev­eral se­ri­ous ill­nesses like var­i­ous types of can­cer, heart disease and type 2 di­a­betes’.

These stud­ies in con­se­quences of in­ac­tion prove that our work­places are fast be­com­ing er­gonomics mine­fields. We not only sit in one place for long hours, which ac­tu­ally sends our body’s me­tab­o­lism into hiber­na­tion mode, the fur­ni­ture and equip­ment we use strains our mus­cles and lig­a­ments in a man­ner that causes painful im­pair­ment.

In or­der to con­trol the dam­age, Fri­day asks Dr Binu Abra­ham, spe­cial­ist or­tho­pe­dics at Aster Clinic and Alan McDon­ald, manag­ing di­rec­tor, the mena re­gion at Hu­man­scale, a com­pany that de­signs and man­u­fac­tures er­gonomic prod­ucts, about the most com­mon in­juries caused by poor er­gonomics and tips and ad­vice on the kind of changes we can bring about to our life­style so as to ef­fec­tively slow down our health’s down­ward slide.

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