Remember when you were mindlessly scrolling through Instagram reels or Youtube shorts and a random video began with “POV: A day in the life of a (blah blah) employee”? Now while they’ve successfully managed to romanticize life and work (maybe even made you jealous!), they missed out on a few cons, obviously.
Most working professionals have a very simple workday. From reporting on time, getting some work done and checking out of the office, there are quite a few problems in that very basic schedule that should worry everyone – especially if you care about your health. Let’s explore them.
Considering most employees work 8 hours-a-day 5 day-a-week sitting in extended periods, your joints take the toll of low physical exercise, the worst being the knee. Adults with Knee OA spend nearly 2/3rds of their day in sedentary behavior, with other studies showing that people who spend around 8 hours/day risk knee OA 40% more than those who don’t! Perhaps, it’s not just about doing your job but also how you’re doing it!
Now here’s another consequence of a sedentary lifestyle combined with poor diet – obesity. Upon close observation, Knee OA epidemiology revealed that its prevalence was higher in obese people. And with India second in obese charts with 41M people, there seems to be a direct correlation with Indian knee OA sufferers and most modern-day working professionals.
Perhap the least discussed aspect of any physiological problem – mental stress. While one would seemingly ignore those factors, most medical professionals would warn you about otherwise. And they’d be right. Chronic stress can trigger inflammation in the body which increases prevalence of knee OA. This is backed by Arthritis Care & Research, who reached a conclusion that greater stress does equate greater risk of OA.
While there are other major factors too like lack of physical activity (weakens muscles around joints and reduces flexibility), increase in age and even tech devices which have to do more with our positioning during their usage, these factors are enough to highlight that the average working class professional is under several risks, especially knee OA!
Surprisingly enough, the fix is pretty straightforward too. Just undo all the causes! Take care of your balanced diet, make sure you exercise regularly (try 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes/week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity as suggested by the American Heart Association) and if possible, don’t stay completely static during work. Perhaps, a little meditation and/or yoga in the morning for stress control!
You could even try suggesting your employer to embrace workplace wellness programs and implement policies for more mobility during work hours. (Maybe don’t push the HR too much!) However physically straining our workplaces may be, it is ultimately our responsibility to look after ourselves and make sure our body is alright. And especially, our knees!