The daily sitting marathon begins at breakfast, continues in the car, later in the office, and then on the couch or at the movies. Anyone who has worked for 40 years and sits for eight hours a day has spent a total of around 70,000 hours at a desk - sitting. Pure stress for the body.
The consequences of this unhealthy lifestyle: More than 30 million people suffer from back pain, 20 million of them must go to the doctor because of it, and around a third of all sickness notifications are due to this.
In the first few years of their working lives, only the people starting their careers often make an effort to balance out their sporting activities. But this decreases with increasing pressure to perform and greater responsibility.
The consequence of all evil is stress. And it has both physical and psychological effects. Physically, by affecting the internal organs, the circulatory system, and the immune system, psychologically with its consequences for sleep, mood, and the ability to concentrate. The first alarm signs are diverse: insomnia, headaches, or frequent infections. Late consequences can be high blood pressure or diabetes.
In a study of more than 10,000 managers, the Institute for Occupational and Social Hygiene in Karlsruhe diagnosed: Around 80 percent of those surveyed complained about vegetative disorders and problems of the heart, circulation, stomach, and intestines. For 40 percent, the scales show too much weight.
But complaints are not only typical for executives who have been in the business for a long time. In the Internet age, long working hours, a lack of exercise, and an unhealthy diet are a form of depletion for the body. Doctors talk about "web years" - one year of working in the Internet economy puts as much strain on the body as three "normal" working years. Muscle, nerve, and skeletal damage are part of the daily schedule for people who spend most of the day in front of a monitor. The same applies to "mouse arm”.
What to do? In addition to compensatory sports and a healthy diet, it is particularly important to pay attention to ergonomic aspects in workplace design. The load should be kept as low as possible in order to influence the results of the work as positively as possible.
The EU issued guidelines for this. Among other things, these include the minimum size of the room, the movement area at the workplace, the depth of the desk, the viewing distance to the monitor, and the size of the space that must be available for legs and feet. In addition, furniture and chairs must have certain characteristics - for example, the European office chair should be equipped with five castors.
Guidelines or not - a workplace can be made "healthy" with just a few simple steps. A desk height of 72 centimeters is ideal. You should sit so that your upper and lower legs form a right angle. The spine is relieved if the feet are placed on a support. Thighs and forearms should be kept parallel when writing on the keyboard, with the forearms not resting on the desk.
The computer screen is optimally aligned when the top line is at eye level. The distance to the screen should be between 45 and 80 centimeters. Of course, it is important that the screen flickers as little as possible and has good brightness and contrast ratios.
In addition, the screen and window should be at right angles to each other. The monitor should be installed in such a way that you cannot look outside, for example at the beautiful Rhine. This is because daylight is dazzling - even when the blinds are down. In addition, the fluorescent tubes are almost always installed parallel to the window and are therefore reflected in the monitor.
The office chair should optimally support the back in various postures. Flexibility is paramount in a good chair because the body changes its posture about every 30 seconds.
Standing desks cannot replace the desk, but they can complement it. Standing takes the strain off the spine. It is ideal to switch between a desk and a standing desk several times a day. But the standing desk should also meet certain requirements: It must be stable enough that you can lean on it. In addition, it should be variable in height and provide the ability to rest one foot.
Those who follow these rules can avoid what Voltaire already complained about in the 18th century: "In the first half of our lives, we ruin our health to get money. And in the second half, we spend most of our money to regain our health."