Avoiding the Screen of Death!

Recently an old school friend died. Nothing particularly significant in that, he was only 58 years old though. What made this different is that he actually died at work, at his desk.

Not the work of the Butler with the Wrench in the office, or some unlikely story worthy of Miss Marple, but a health related incident.

Like me, he was a DBA and programmer, jobs that by their definition mean a lot of periods of sitting and lack of physical activity.

Studies elsewhere in the world show that people who sit for a job are twice as likely to die early that those who don’t.

Whether you sit down all day long or prefer to put you feet up periodically, prolonged inactivity increases your risk of early death, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The study found that people in our industry can be sitting for 12 hours of a 16 hour day. That does not sound good to me.

These findings support another study conducted by Cambridge University which found that one in six deaths – 90,000 per year – were caused by 9-5 office lifestyles, the Sun reports. 

Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes, cancer, and dementia were mainly to blame while it also revealed that 37 per cent of British adults spend less than 30 minutes on their feet a day.

Around the world, 14 people die each day at work, never returning home! 92 people in the UK die at work each year.

So what can we do about it?

Let’s start with not eating lunch at our desk’s, go for a walk, eat in a park, employers very rarely pay an individual to work through their lunch anyway and to be honest just profit from it.

Bizarrely drinking coffee can help, as a dedicated tea drinker I feel slightly robbed of some precious minutes.

I’m the last to suggest this, but join a gym, do some gardening, get a bicycle.

More practical work placed activities, may be get up every 30 minutes and walk to the end of the office, walk up the stairs.

Diet may help, being someone who falls into an upper weight category myself, this is probably a good way forward, but don’t crash diet. I’ve spent 6 months losing 7lb’s and expect to be a reasonable weight sometime in the distant future.

What is funny in someway is that the HSE have a protocol for people who die at work, http://www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/wrdp/. Does this happen every day? unfortunately it does, not just by people dying at their desks but in industrial accidents as well.

In an industry where many of us sit all day, then go home and sit down all evening, we as individuals need to make some life choices. Before someone has to wheel us off in our chair to the back door of the building.

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