This Is How Years of Sedentary Living Can Do to the Body

24 July 2020

Have you met Emma? No, she’s not your new colleague. She is not a celebrity either. In The Sun story, Emma is a life-sized dummy that was created by scientists to show how desk-bound workers could look in 20 years.

Let me tell you -- Emma is not looking too good.  The negative effects of having a non-ergonomic office space could have a negative impact on the body -- not just on the outside but also from within. Take it from Emma, who was created by pooling together collective complaints from 3,003 workers in the UK, France, and Germany.


Source: The Sun

Know your facts

This article from Mayo Clinic reveals that extended sitting with no physical activity increases the risk of obesity and a cluster of other conditions such as increased blood pressure and high blood sugar. It can also lead to metabolic syndrome as excess body fat around the waist builds and abnormal cholesterol levels rise.


Bad posture

Years of long hours working on a desk has altered Emma’s appearance -- for the worst. 

Let’s start from the top -- from her hunched back down to her swollen limbs. 

Emma’s back is hunched from sitting with poor posture for hours. This article cites a study that claims different parts of your body will reshape themselves to complement your most common postures and movements.

Red eyes

Emma has dry, red eyes from having too much screen time. Prolonged hours of using gadgets can strain the eyes and affect vision in the long run. This write-up shares the other adverse effects of excessive use of computers. 

Hairy eyes and ears 

Due to poor air quality, Emma has a hairy nose. Even her ears have grown a bush. It may seem odd. But did you know that if there are unwanted particles in the air, nose hair will just continue to grow to filter them? Hard to believe but this was what  Los Angeles Daily News said in this article

Pale, unhealthy skin 

We also have to note Emma’s skin. She has eczema caused by too much stress as well as pale skin from being cooped inside the office and not having enough sun exposure.

Red arms, round belly

She also has red arms from having regular contact with laptop heat as well as a rotund stomach due to lack of exercise. 

Unattractive legs

Her legs are painful to look at. Emma’s legs are swollen from doing repetitive movements and she suffers from unsightly varicose veins due to poor blood circulation. 


Source: The Sun

How to not become Emma

Emma brings warnings to those who have poor work habits. But it’s never too late to start healthy habits for a better and healthier body. Here are some tweaks that you can take as first steps toward healthy living:

       1. Set up an ergonomic workstaion - Sitting less and putting in more activities while you work can help improve the body's overall health. You can improve your posture as well as blood circulation by getting a sit-stand desk that will allow you to move throughout the day. Unlike a traditional desk, you can adjust the height and angle of an ergonomic desk so you can work comfortably without straining your back or neck. If you need a guide on the basics of a healthy workstation, you can refer to this article.

      2. Take breaks - This is easy to neglect especially if you have a hard time balancing work tasks and house chores. But not pausing can be counterproductive and will leave you more tired and spent than ever. You can reduce fatigue by doing a quiet break or an active break so you can recharge your fuel. Doing yoga stretches can keep stress away. Or you can take a stroll in your garden or a nearby park for a quick workout session.

     3. Install greens in your home office to avoid air pollution - Having plants near you can purify the air, as explained in this Good Housekeeping story. The process goes like this: During photosynthesis, plants convert the carbon dioxide we exhale into fresh oxygen and remove toxins from the air we breathe. Plus, they help alleviate stress, a CNBC article said.

 Or you can purchase an air purifier so you don’t inhale specks of pollution from outside. Doing so can prevent any damage to your heart and lungs.


Cheers to a healthier you

Positive lifestyle changes will help you to lead a longer and healthier life. It won’t happen overnight, but it all starts with you wanting to swap old habits for new ones that will improve the quality of your life.