Your Office Chair is Killing You

Your office chair is killing you. Really.

That is to say, there is a real and serious link between the amount of time you spend sitting at a desk and your risk of dying.

Not from dying of pulmonary disease, or diabetes, or any of the illnesses you might associate with low levels of activity. There is a direct relationship between the time spent sitting and your risk of early mortality of any cause.

So what can you do about it? Quit your office job and dig ditches all day? The prospect of an early death is more appealing. Get a standing desk? Turns out those aren’t great for your health, either. Lay down and die? Well, apparently, we’re essentially doing that already.

Desk work isn’t going anywhere fast. In fact, sedentary jobs are growing faster than active, physical work.

What needs to happen is a renewed focus on ergonomics, with employers and workers taking steps to make work stations safer. That includes proper posture, frequent breaks, and yes — better office chairs.

When we think of workplace injuries, we tend to imagine construction sites and factories, not offices. But in truth, musculoskeletal disorders are one of the biggest causes of workplace injuries in Ontario. They account for half of all lost-time injuries and affect thousands of workers. Those include muscle sprains, nerve damage, and other issues that arise when you’re stuck in a chair all day.

Implementing ergonomics is more than buying a better chairs (though it certainly doesn’t hurt). As mentioned, part of it involves training workers to take adequate breaks from their desk — and of course ensuring that management allows this.

There are lots of other ways to modify the workplace environment in order to promote health and wellness, including:

  • Keeping frequently-used items within easy reach
  • Sitting with good posture
  • Making sure your monitor is at eye-level
  • Placing a light behind your monitor to reduce contrast

One organization that can help you learn more about ergonomics and implement safer work stations is the Public Services Health & Safety Association. Click here for PSHSA training.

Movie Theatre Etiquette

If you are a movie fan who likes to experience their cinema on the big screen whenever possible, you have no doubt noticed a major decline in movie theatre etiquette in recent years. More and more, people are treating movie theatres as little more than extensions of their own living rooms with little or no regard for the enjoyment of the other people sharing that space.

Here are some tips on how you can set a good example in your local movie theatre and not contribute to the problem:

No cell phones

Many people are addicted to their smart phones and seemingly refused to leave them unattended for even the shortest period of time. Once a movie starts, your phone needs to be turned off. And we made completely off: not on vibrate. No checking for messages, texts, or anything else. If you absolutely must use your phone, get up and go to the lobby.

Noisy food

Certain movie theatre foods come in packaging that can be quite noisy. If you bought one of these confections, be sure to open the packaging before the film starts and then consume the food as quietly as possible.

Minimize talking

To put it bluntly, people are paying to hear the movie, not to hear you talk. There is nothing wrong with laughing at comedies, but otherwise, please limit your discussion to the time after the film has finished.

Control your children

We realize that young children can be a handful, but please try to minimize the distractions they make the rest of the viewing public. Young children should really only attend matinees until they are old enough to act maturely in a screening. Also, be sure to observe the age ratings and do not bring your kids to movies with mature content that will disturb them and adversely affect their behaviour.