Office Ergonomics – Tips to Avoid Discomfort and Pain

The purpose of office ergonomics is to design the workstation to fit in within the limitations and capabilities of the worker with an objective of providing utmost comfort to the worker.

The sole purpose of office ergonomics is to build and design office spaces that focus on the employees’ health and comfort. A properly designed workstation aims at providing a comfortable environment to the worker thereby maximising his/her productivity and efficiency.

An unhealthy or uncomfortable office environment is the last thing an employee would want to face. It is imperative for every organisation to take care of its employees’ health and well planned and executed office ergonomics is the first step towards it.

How to Avoid Discomfort & Pain in Office?

The changing work-life has increased the average time people tend to spend in their office. The statistics say that today an average person spends around 13 years of their life at work. The long working hours has paved the way for a sedentary lifestyle which is one of the leading causes of various health issues.

An ergonomically set-up office or workstation will help in avoiding discomfort and pain.

Here are some helpful tips to follow:

The Desk

The design of the desk plays a vital role in ensuring comfort. The rest of the peripherals like chair and computer positioning are dependent upon the design of the desk. The height of the counter should be such the employee can rest their elbows at the desk while working. This will provide support to the shoulders. Working with elevated shoulders or leaning forward towards the desk is not ideal for long sitting hours.

The Right Chair

A person spends around 8-10 hours sitting at their desk. A wrong sitting position on a wrong chair is one of the main reasons behind backaches, neck and shoulder pains. The chair should be well cushioned with extra support for the lower back. The height of the chair should be based on the height of the workstation or desk. The armrest should be high enough to provide support to the person while working on the computer. It is advisable to use chairs with adjustable height as well as armrests.

Footrest

More often than not, people tend to overlook the importance of footrest while designing a workstation. Spending around 8 hours every day with the feet dangling in the air increases the chances of developing chronic backaches, low blood circulation and high risk of arthritis. The height of the chair should be such that the person can rest their feet on the ground and if this is not in alignment with the height of the desk, make a provision for a footrest.

The positioning of the computer or laptop

Improper positioning of the computer or laptop can strain the employee’s neck and shoulders which, in turn, can affect the spine. One shouldn’t need to crane or bend their neck while working. The laptop or computer screen should be at the eye-level and keyboard right in front of the monitor. The placement should be such that the person working at the desk shouldn’t need to twist and turn their head frequently.

Make the employees move

Desk jobs can be tiresome for the body. Every organisation should take efforts to increase its employees’ mobility around the office. This can be done by placing water-cooler or coffee machines at some distance from the workstations along with the printers and photocopying machines. This will allow the employee to move around the office from time to time.

Desk Lighting

The most neglected thing while designing a workstation in an office is the desk light. The office space might be adequately lit with artificial and natural light but having a desk light helps in reducing the eye strain thereby eliminating chances of headaches. Reading or working on a computer/laptop in a low or bad light is one of the most common causes of recurring headaches in adults.

The office ergonomics can help only as much in reducing or decreasing the discomfort and pain of long sitting hours. Besides the ergonomics, it is important to maintain a good sitting posture while working at the desk. Take regular breaks to stand up and move around a bit as well as stretch your body. A good office ergonomic coupled with healthy workstation practices can help in eradicating health issues caused due to the negligence during the office hours.

Sustainable Living – Eating Habits To Sustain You And Our Planet

There have been numerous talks about sustainable living over the past decade and a half. The fast-depleting natural resources and the ever increasing burden on planet Earth are urging people to alter their lifestyles. The economists believe that if we continue living the way we are living at present, planet Earth will become unliveable in around 100 years.

A lot has been said and written about sustainable living, but there’s little to no attention paid to sustainable eating. Today, we are well aware of the lifestyle changes that we need to make to honour the sustainability of our planet but, what is sustainable eating?

What is Sustainable Eating?

Wikipedia defines sustainable eating or sustainable diet as “Eating habits with low environmental impacts that contribute to food and nutritional security and healthy lives for the present and future generations.

 Sustainable diets are known to be respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems. They are affordable, are nutritionally adequate, safe, and healthy.

While the concept of sustainable living focuses on reducing the impact of human lifestyle on the environment by adopting eco-friendly ways of living; the idea of sustainable eating focuses on the agricultural aspect of living. It includes the production and consumption of food along with the farming techniques and practices that help in conserving the natural resources thereby reducing the impact on the environment. It is about choosing foods that are healthy not only for our bodies but also the environment.

According to the EAT-Lancet commission (2019), if we want to feed the world’s growing population, there needs to be a global shift towards more plant-based foods than animal-based foods. The livestock production is one of the significant contributors of greenhouse gases accounting to 18% of total anthropogenic emissions which is 5% more than the transportation sector.

5 Simple Sustainable Eating Habits to Adopt

As established above, the impact of our dietary choices on the environment cannot be undermined. Adopting sustainable eating habits will not only help in saving the planet but also improving our overall health. Here are five simple and easy to adopt sustainable eating habits:

  1. Eat less and better quality meat

Animal-based food is the most significant contributor to the total environmental emissions especially red meat and dairy products. They are the most energy-intensive manufacturing processes that release harmful greenhouse gases. Reducing the consumption of animal-based foods on a routine basis can prove to make a huge impact on decreasing the carbon footprint. You don’t need to give up on meat completely. Practice flexitarian dietary habits, and you can contribute hugely to this cause.

  1. Curb Food Wastage

Food wastage is a global issue that needs our immediate attention. According to the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) – 1.3 billion tonnes of food, which is one-third of the food produced for human consumption, gets wasted or lost per year. As per FAO estimations, 40% of the food produced in India gets wasted or lost per year. This loss costs a whopping 1000 crores every year. Food wastage can be curbed through simple buying and eating habits. Buy only as much food as required for consumption. Instead of throwing away the leftovers, consume them the next day or serve it to the needy. If every household consciously decides to contribute to this cause, the food wastage percentage can be brought down remarkably.

  1. Try Organic Farming and Eating

Farming and agricultural has resorted to unhealthy practices for producing food to meet the growing consumption demands. The use of synthetic fertilisers is deteriorating the soil quality thereby upsetting the marine eco-balance and human health. Organic farming prohibits the use of harmful chemicals and artificial fertilisers for the production of food. By adopting organic farming practices, one can add to the cause. Moreover, you can support this by buying organically produced food products.

  1. Eat Seasonal Produce

In today’s time, it is difficult to establish seasonal foods/fruits as everything is available around the year. Ever wondered how did this become possible? The year-round availability of foods and fruits is a result of unethical farming practices that meddle with the climatic conditions for production. Eating unseasonal produce is harmful to both human health and the environment. You can contribute to this cause by avoiding the purchase of unseasonal fruits and vegetables.

  1. Shop Locally

Shopping locally is one of the simplest and best ways to promote sustainable living. The local produce doesn’t require transportation which, in turn, reduces fuel consumption. By consuming locally produced food products, you not only help in saving the environment but your money also.

To make this planet liveable for the coming generations, we need to do our bit. Every individual effort counts in bringing this change. Adopt sustainable eating habits and urge your family and friends too to be a part of this cause.

 

What Do You Need To Know About Type 1 Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to respond to the hormone insulin is impaired resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and high levels of glucose or blood sugar in the body.

There are four types of diabetes:

  • Type 2 Diabetes:A chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar or glucose.
  • Type 1 Diabetes:A chronic disease in which pancreas produces little to no insulin in the body.
  • Prediabetes:A condition in which the blood sugar levels are found to be high but not high enough to be Type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational Diabetes:A form of high blood sugar level affecting pregnant women.

Type 2 diabetes is the most commonly found form of diabetes prevalence in people. It is caused mainly due to genetics and unhealthy lifestyle habits. 90% of people in the world with diabetes are suffering from Type 2. On the other hand, Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease that comprises of 5% cases worldwide.

While unhealthy lifestyle habits trigger type 2, Type 1 is caused by the failure of the pancreas to produce enough (or not at all) insulin for the proper functioning of the body. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows the body to use sugar (glucose) from the food (mainly carbohydrates) you consume to provide you with energy and to store glucose for the future consumption by the body. In layman’s term – insulin is a hormone that extracts energy for you from the food you eat.

Type 1 Diabetes

As established above, Type 1 diabetes affects the pancreas thereby affecting the production of insulin hormone in the human body. It is an autoimmune disease which is incurable. Type 1 diabetes is commonly known as ‘juvenile diabetes’ since it is majorly found in children and teenagers though it can occur at any age.

 The cause of Type 1 diabetes hasn’t been established yet. It is an autoimmune disease where it is believed that the immune system mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Besides this, the other factors that are found to cause Type 1 diabetes are the genetic make-up of a person or exposure to certain viruses and bacteria.

The cases of Type 1 diabetes are generally found in places with cold climatic conditions. The lower temperatures fail to combat certain viruses and bacteria present in the atmosphere.

Common Symptoms of Type 1 Disease

The symptoms vary from person to person. Something as serious as Type 1 diabetes cannot be ascertained until and unless thorough and proper medical tests have been carried out on a person.

These common symptoms work as a cautious measure to detect the early onset of Type 1 diabetes in kids. The signs to look out for are:

  • Sudden instances of bed-wetting
  • Increased thirst
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Pale and excessively sweating skin
  • Continuous headaches
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme and constant hunger
  • Irritability and major mood swings

If a kid has more than two of these common symptoms, then it is time to consult your physician.

Diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes

The diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes is made through the following blood tests:

  • Fasting Blood Sugar:This is the most common type of blood test done for diagnosing diabetes. The blood sugar levels of a person are checked by extracting a blood sample after at least 8 hours of fasting. It is therefore done in the morning.
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance (OGT) Test:This test is conducted when the fasting blood-sugar test results are normal, but the person has enough symptoms not to be neglected. In this, the person is made to consume glucose orally two hours before drawing the blood sample for the test.
  • Random Blood Sugar Test:As the name suggests, this test is done at any random time of the day. It can be either on an empty stomach or soon after a meal.
  • HbA1C Test:This is the best way to diagnose diabetes. In this test, the blood sugar level of the past few months (mostly six months) is derived.

Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

Since Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, there is no permanent cure for it. However, a diagnosed person can live a normal life with the help of insulin treatment that helps in maintaining healthy levels of blood sugar in the body.

The Insulin Treatment: This is the most commonly practiced treatment for Type 1 diabetes. The diagnosed person is prescribed insulin injections by the physician. These injections help the bloodstream to produce glucose thereby providing energy to the body. The dosage of insulin varies from person to person and is mostly dependent upon factors such as insulin levels, height, weight, and age of the person.

Living with Type 1 Diabetes

Apart from insulin injections, it is essential to maintain healthy lifestyle habits to keep the risks of Type 1 diabetes at bay. Healthy and clean eating, regular physical exercise and proper sleep are as important as taking the insulin injections.

Debunking the Most Common Myths About HIIT Workouts

HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is a form of cardiovascular training with short intervals of anaerobic exercise and increasingly lesser recovery period. HIIT helps burn a high number of calories in a very short period of time and is an important part of fat loss regimes as well as for athletic sessions. Though HIIT is not a very new concept, there are still many myths revolving among fitness amateurs. So today we try to debunk seven most common myths related to HIIT.

Myth: HIIT and Cardio are the same

While both of them involve following the same basic rule, i.e., to keep the heart-beat elevated during the entire workout, the workout session is made keeping many different aspects in mind.

HIIT may involve a variety of exercises like burpees, push-ups, squats, etc. with different variations done at maximum effort for a fixed time interval with a specific set rest time. The time interval is set to provide maximum workout time with decreasing rest time. During the workout, the active heartbeat is kept at 90-95% rate with rest heart-beat at 40-45%. At this rate, the exercise is more of an anaerobic type.

Cardio, on the other hand, involves a prolonged period of the elevated heartbeat with almost no rest period, done at an intermediate intensity. The main aim is to keep the heartbeat up and going with the exercise being mostly aerobic. Exercises can include jogging, burpees, etc.

The basic workout regime differs in rest periods and aerobic/anaerobic workout. If your aim is loose fat with muscle building, HIIT is the best option.

Myth: HIIT is better than steady-state cardio

This is a common notion that an intense HIIT session is more effective than steady-state cardio. It is not entirely true because the type of workout depends on your fitness goals. If you are aiming for fat loss, HIIT would definitely be the better option. Steady state cardio is done to maintain a heart rate up to 65-70% and is aimed at improving heart and lung health, as well as improve blood circulation and overall health. So design your work out depending on your health goals.

Myth: HIIT is enough

As much as HIIT seems to work, it is not enough if you want to lose fat as well as gain muscles. As the name suggests, HIIT is intended to work on shredding fat and losing calories. HIIT workouts help by increasing the metabolism of the body, but you have to include weight training in your session if you want to strengthen the muscle. Take it like adding more fuel in your tank if you want to go for a long distance, but if you want to carry the biggest load for the same distance, you have to have a bigger engine with more horsepower. So HIIT is for distance (fat loss) and weight training is for more horsepower (muscle).

Myth: Age is not a bar

While the name might not give you a feel of what strenuous sessions this might be, HIIT is not a walk in the park. While there is always a beginner level, it’s like going for a short marathon knowing that you cannot even run for a mile. So, if you are a total novice, or if you are restarting after a long gap, it is advised to build up your stamina for a couple of days with normal to intermediate cardio sessions before going for a full-fledged HIIT session. Consider it as a pre-HIIT warm-up session lasting for days instead of minutes.

Myth: The longer, the better

It is a common myth that doing more cardio can help burn more calories and hence more fat. While the former might be true to a certain extent, the latter is a total assumption. A prolonged period of cardio has shown to use some of your stored energy reserves and then turn to breakdown your hard-built muscles to supply energy. As for HIIT, it is a common saying that if you are doing HIIT for more than 3 times a week, you aren’t doing it right. A proper HIIT session, if done right, is too gruesome and takes a heavy toll on the energy reserves of the body and you need to take a good rest of at least one day before your next session. Also, there is a concept of EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) which states that after an intense anaerobic exercise session, the body keeps oxygen to remove all lactic acid build up in the muscles. This process requires energy which is made available by burning fat and finally boosting metabolism. Therefore, keep the session short, intense and take proper rest for maximum benefit.

Myth: Any exercise can be included

HIIT is aimed at burning calories and rep up the heart, but the exercises chosen for that has a huge impact on the result. Try not to stick with the same set of repetitive exercises like push ups, sit ups, etc. Try to include more compound exercises that involve the whole body like burpees, bear crawls, squats, circuit training etc. Mix your sessions up, design new circuits and keep it interesting.

Myth: HIIT alone is sufficient for fat loss

Muscles are built in the kitchen, not in the gym. What you eat has probably more effect on your fat content as compared to how much you sweat out in the gym. So, make sure you analyze what you eat, count the calories you consume, and keep it a balanced diet. Break your 3-big-meals in five smaller ones so that you never feel full yet have a constant energy supply.

HIIT is a very efficient fat loss and stamina building regime, as well as quite an efficient test for one’s fitness level. Just make sure you have your facts as well as planning right so that you can reap maximum benefits.

Tips To Help You Take Care Of Your Ears

Ears are sensitive organs and demand caution and care. Ear care is often overlooked when people talk about body health. It is the most neglected organ. The attention is paid to ears only when there’s a medical emergency.

The only drawback of neglected ear care is sighted to be a loss of hearing which again, is often related to aging. This is not true. Loss of hearing can be due to various reasons. There are three major types of hearing loss:

  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss: This occurs when the sensory cells in the inner ear are damaged or injured.
  • Conductive Hearing Loss: This is most common amongst children. This is caused when there is a problem with the middle or outer ear.
  • Mixed Hearing Loss: This can occur in any part of the ear. It is the combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.

Here are some tips that will help you in taking care of ears: 

Cleaning

  • The eardrum and the ear canal can be easily harmed while cleaning the ear. Always use medically tested ear buds to clean your ear.
  • Do not use any sharp objects or safety pins and bobby pins to clean your ear.
  • Earwax is ear’s self-cleaning agent but excess built up of earwax can lead to an impaired hearing. If you are unable to get rid of it yourself, consult an ENT specialist at the earliest.
  • Excessive cleaning too can harm your ear. The earwax has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Clean your ears not more than once a week and not less than once every 15 days.
  • Clean your earlobes with a gentle damp washcloth or a cotton swab. Avoid using water and soap directly.

Avoiding Illness and Infections

  • The upper respiratory infections, when untreated, can increase the risk of ear infections. Treat the ear infections before they escalate into an untreatable problem.
  • If you experience a sudden loss in hearing or a continuous sound in your ears, rush to a doctor. This can be due to an untreatable medical condition or an illness.
  • Drainage from the ears after a shower is normal. The ear drains out excess water, but if it is not water, then it can be a cause of concern and you should consult a specialist.

Dealing with Noise

  • Constant exposure to loud sound can lead to an impaired hearing. If your work requires being in a noisy environment, then make sure you use protective headgear to minimise exposure to the sound. Exposure to loud sound and noise could also result in a migraine.
  • Avoid using earphones or earplugs while listening to music for a longer duration. Continuous usage has scientifically proven to diminish hearing ability. When listening to music or watching movies, keep the volume at permissible levels. 

Safety Measures

  • If you are a swimmer, make sure to wear earplugs to prevent chlorinated water from entering your ears. The regular exposure to chlorinated water can harm the eardrums.
  • In flight, keep swallowing and yawning during ascent and descent to equalise pressure in your ears.
  • If you are flying with a cold, then it is advisable to take/use decongestants before the plane takes off and lands.

Paying Attention to the Warning Signs

Regular check-ups can be useful in preventing any severe damage to the eardrums. The early diagnosis can be vital in avoiding permanent damage to the ear. Pay attention to ear just like the rest of your body. If you see any bumps or external growth on the earlobe, consult your ENT immediately.

Lookout for these warning signs to prevent grave consequences:

  • Any pain in the ear that lasts more than 24 hours.
  • Any drainage or continuous ringing in the ears.
  • Difficulty in hearing what the other person on the phone is saying.
  • Listening to music or TV on louder volumes than you usually do.
  • Difficulty in listening to what people speak.

These are the most common symptoms that can help you in detecting the early onset of any ear related issue.

The ear comprises of the smallest bones in the human body and is amongst the most fragile bones. Practicing caution can help prevent certain types of hearing losses and taking care of your ear.