What do Desk Jobs and Bruises have in Common?

Chances are, if you have a desk job and tend to sit without moving for hours, you have also found yourself bumping into tables, walking into door panels and perhaps even tripping more often than most.

In many cases, but not all, it’s possible that your inability to circumvent objects safely, is more about your lack of spatial awareness than just simply being clumsy. This deficiency may come from a lack of exercise.

Desk jobs have a nasty habit of restraining us to the table for hours on end. Our work load and expectations are such that leaving work for a break is sometimes considered bad form, and judged as though you clearly don’t have enough work to do. However, the less movement we execute, the less our brains need to function to keep us safe.

Part of the reason that sport is so important for children, is to facilitate the development of their cognitive skills, some of which are spatial perception and awareness. Through sport, a child explores their physical and emotional capabilities and limitations. They develop and understanding of their body in relation to the space and objects around it. The innate purpose is to unconsciously identify obstacles and mobilise yourself around them to avoid injury and pain. This would seem intuitive, and it is, unless you stop exercising these cognitive skills.

The longer people have been working desk jobs and the older they are, with less exercise, the more likely they are to hurt themselves by walking into things. This is exactly one of the reasons why we encourage all adults to exercise at least three times per week. Aside from the weight and cardiovascular benefits, you ensure that your brain learns and maintains its understanding of your body in relation to the environment, and helps you make split decisions about how far to take that step before taking a corner to clear the edges without incident.

Aerobic exercise have been shown through studies, to counter-act age-related neurological decrements which are associated with cognitive and physical impairments[i][ii][iii]. Fragala et al (2014) found that resistance exercise may be an effect method of preserving or improving spatial awareness and reaction in aging.

Don’t wait until you start noticing the black and blue, gather your colleagues and push forward corporate sports initiatives to HR and marketing. Being able to play sport is a privilege that not everyone can enjoy. Companies often have CSR budgets that can include corporate wellness programs ideally, or at least corporate sports. Choosing to be and stay active is one of the few things in life that you can control and maintain.

Some of the top companies in the United Arab Emirates are already allocating budget for corporate sports, including DAFZA, Emirates, du, BCG, Emaar and Meraas. We facilitate, organise and manage corporate supports events for companies of all sizes and budgets.

Review our Featured Events here for the next flagship tournament that you can get your team involved in.

References:

Fragala, M. S., Beyer, K., Jajtner, A. R., & Townsend, J. R. (2014). Resistance exercise may improve spatial awareness and visual reaction in older adults. Retrieved online here

[i] Spirduso, WW. Reaction and movement time as a function of age and physical activity level. J Gerontol 30: 435–440, 1975.

[ii] Barnes, DE, Yaffe, K, Satariano, WA, and Tager, IB. A longitudinal study of cardiorespiratory fitness and cognitive function in healthy older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc 51: 459–465, 2003.

[iii] Weuve, J, Kang, JH, Manson, JE, Breteler, MM, Ware, JH, and Grodstein, F. Physical activity, including walking, and cognitive function in older women. JAM A 292: 1454–1461, 2004.

Leave a Reply