Is Your Design Job Shortening Your Life?

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Graphic design is a great job. It offers creative liberties, good pay (at least decent, right?), and isn’t physically demanding. Graphic designers I know tend to be a happy sort, living the life of the “new rock star.” But just like years of fame and fortune have put real rock stars in early graves, the graphic design lifestyle might be shortening your life.

No doubt you’ve heard by now that sitting at work all day shaves years off your life. Research has indicated that sitting at work all day can increase your risk of developing diabetes by 112 percent and your risk of heart disease by as much as 147 percent. And those who sit for six or more hours per day increase their chance of dying within the next 15 years by a whopping 40 percent. If you’re a graphic designer, chances are you easily sit for six hours most days.

Think the recent breed of standing desks will save you? Think again. The extra strain on your circulatory system increases your risk of developing carotid atherosclerosis ninefold. What about your regular workout regimen? Well, research indicates that even the most dedicated exercisers can’t offset the health damage done by sitting all day.

That’s right: designing at a desk dooms you to premature death – unless you do it right. How can you truly offset the health risks of your desk job? Alan Hedge, director of Cornell University’s Human Factors and Ergonomics research and teaching programs, recommends introducing a variety of movements into your workday. The key is to sit in an ergonomically healthy position, and get up and move every 20 minutes: walk to the water cooler or take the stairs. You don’t need to take a lunchtime jog, all you need to do is move.

This isn’t to say that you should abandon your exercise regiment because you move at work; however, adopting movement variety as part of your workday habits will allow you to actually enjoy the health benefits of your workout program, rather than succumb to the health risks associated with a desk job.

Graphic design is a great job, certainly, but one that should enhance your lifestyle – not threaten your life. Follow the experts’ advice and keep moving at work to increase your chance of enjoying health and longevity. Oh, and lay off the energy drinks.

How do you stay active at work?

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