Office jobs can cause chronic diseases; Experts have advice on what to do

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Mounting evidence shows the negative impacts of a sedentary lifestyle. That's why health coaches Catherine Cooley and Kris Rich from Priority Health are offering advice on how to combat the negative health effects of desk jobs.

Cooley says sitting at a desk and staring st a computer screen all day can contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

Adding proper office ergonomics can lead to healthier employees, higher productivity and lower health costs.

Priority Health is in the process of renovating their entire space with ergonomic features like stand-up desks, adjustable monitors and lots of natural sunlight.

Rich says she's glad she's able to work for a company that puts wellness first, and she's hoping to help other companies do the same.

Cooley says the stand-up desks help combat a "host of problems, including obesity, back pain and fatigue," she said. The amount of time you spend sitting should equal the amount of time you spend standing or moving throughout the day, she says.

"The extra energy you get just from going from sitting to standing really does help with productivity," Cooley said.

In addition, try taking the stairs to a restroom on another floor, or walk to a co-worker's desk instead of sending an email.

As for your weary eyes, Rich says it's important you cut down on your screen time when you can. Avoid vision or neck strain by setting your monitor an arm's length away where the top of your computer screen is at eye level, says Cooley. This helps establish good posture where your head, neck and spine are aligned your shoulders are back and down

"Try to have screen-free meetings if you can. Go the old fashioned way: print out documents and take notes on paper."

Cooley says natural sunlight in the workplace can help you regulate your circadian rhythm, even your sleep schedule.

If you have Priority Health and want help making your office space more ergonomically friendly, call the number on the back of your Priority Health insurance card.

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