1

votes

Desk Job vs. Physically demanding job

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created October 19, 2012 at 10:04 PM

I've had in both and I personally feel better with a desk job.

Which setting is better for overall wellness?

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I loved waitressing/kitchen work for the experience and all the things I learned (even the bad things...) but man it is SO hard on the body. Doing it full time was more exhausting than rowing varsity.

0b4326a4949718451a8571b82558dc10

(2349)

on October 22, 2012
at 04:57 PM

I can relate to the workout thing...I used to work at McDonald's and then come home and workout. My workouts were decent but they didn't have the same intensity that they do now that I'm sitting at a desk all day.

0b4326a4949718451a8571b82558dc10

(2349)

on October 22, 2012
at 04:52 PM

Interesting Also---poor people are more likely to have physical jobs. poor people die earlier. Might be an indication of healthcare/food and not blue collar vs. white collar....too many variables.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 21, 2012
at 06:47 PM

Here, here, waiting tables and serving is super active, and chews your body up if you do it for too long.

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11 Answers

best answer

2
629b9895e282d0ef15b465b064100f83

on October 20, 2012
at 08:18 PM

I've also had both and I prefer the desk job because I'm happier and much less stressed with the nature of the work. I'm a registered nurse and I worked for several years in patient care, which is very physically demanding. I was on my feet for 13 hours straight, lots of times without a lunch break and many times feeling as though I didn't even have time for a bathroom break. Not to mention the rotating shifts, working weekends and holidays, and never getting enough sleep. I was very unhappy and stressed. I went back to school for a master's degree and I now have a job that is mostly a desk job and I absolutely love it. I have time to take several breaks throughout the day, get up and stretch and go for a walk or two. And I love the work that I do. After work, I'm not so exhausted and there is plenty of time to get to the gym for a long workout. When I worked at the hospital, getting in a workout before or after work was impossible.

There are studies that show the risks of a sedentary job, but what about the risks of working in a job that you don't like and are continuously stressed?

0b4326a4949718451a8571b82558dc10

(2349)

on October 22, 2012
at 04:57 PM

I can relate to the workout thing...I used to work at McDonald's and then come home and workout. My workouts were decent but they didn't have the same intensity that they do now that I'm sitting at a desk all day.

best answer

1
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 21, 2012
at 07:12 PM

Paul Jaminet has been discussing this on his blog lately (see following quote). I found physical labor to be a mixed bag. My muscles were bigger, but my labs degraded, and I developed signs of stress (like gaining abdominal fat and feeling perpetually stressed out when I did physical work for an extended period of time).

Activity at Work

If activity and exercise at work are good, it might seem a good thing to have an active job. Why not get paid for getting your exercise?

However, the data is not so clear. In comparisons of sedentary work with active work, usually the sedentary workers come out pretty well. For example: In women, no relationship was found between occupational physical activity and heart disease risk. [10]

In the HUNT 2 study, people with metabolic syndrome were more likely to die of cardiovascular disease if their work included physical activity than if it was sedentary. [11]

In the Copenhagen City Heart Study, high occupational physical activity was associated with higher all-cause mortality. [12]

It seems that when it comes to routine physical activity, more is not better. Exercise is a stressor, and it???s easy to get too much. Being active for eight hours a day is too much.

0b4326a4949718451a8571b82558dc10

(2349)

on October 22, 2012
at 04:52 PM

Interesting Also---poor people are more likely to have physical jobs. poor people die earlier. Might be an indication of healthcare/food and not blue collar vs. white collar....too many variables.

4
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 20, 2012
at 12:41 AM

Pick your poison. Each has their positives and negatives. The key is recognizing how to mitigate the damages of too much of either of these....AKA ergonomics.

That said my job is not labor, but I also sit less time than I spend up and moving. I really can't complain about the physicality of my occupation. What SUCKED was being a server back when I was working through college....gives me a total respect for what waiter/waitresses have to deal with. Hell, I'd rather go back to working for my dad (ironworker) than do that again and that was some heavy labor.

I could never handle a straight up desk job. I would definitely be an out in the elements laborer before choosing that route.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 21, 2012
at 06:47 PM

Here, here, waiting tables and serving is super active, and chews your body up if you do it for too long.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I loved waitressing/kitchen work for the experience and all the things I learned (even the bad things...) but man it is SO hard on the body. Doing it full time was more exhausting than rowing varsity.

2
Ee04db68fcab556868524acb55ac5fd4

on October 20, 2012
at 06:53 PM

Whatever you're happier with. Mind over matter.

1
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on October 20, 2012
at 07:46 PM

I would prefer a job that was more physical. I do attend a lot of meetings, so I am constantly walking, I put a pedometer on me and I walk 2 miles a day in the office -- not too bad.

Back in college I had a laborer job that was very physical, and I enjoyed that aspect.

However, for me, to do the work I love -- I have to have a desk job. There is nothing in my domain that requires more physical work.

So do you love the work you do, or do you love how you work.

1
Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 20, 2012
at 06:51 PM

For my N=1 physical labor = stress. While it pushes the body and can create muscle mass it doesn't always do that. I prefer a desk job with a lot of voluntary exercise. Shiftwork and lots of on-the-floor work raised my systolic blood pressure by 40 points and I had to start taking zoloft to reduce the stress anxiety. Back to the desk for the last 3 months I'm back to normal. Yesterday's BP was 100/70 6 months ago it was 160/90.

1
D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

on October 20, 2012
at 01:30 AM

I've had both. I left my desk job and haven't regretted it for a single moment. I honestly became happier with my life and less stressed. Leaving that job is also probably the single most contributing factor to the return of my libido after two years.

1
Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 19, 2012
at 11:56 PM

Here's some recent info supporting sedentary work with standing every 20 minutes ...

Physical Activity: Whence Its Healthfulness?

Activity at Work

If activity and exercise at work are good, it might seem a good thing to have an active job. Why not get paid for getting your exercise?

However, the data is not so clear. In comparisons of sedentary work with active work, usually the sedentary workers come out pretty well. For example:

???In women, no relationship was found between occupational physical activity and heart disease risk. [10]
???In the HUNT 2 study, people with metabolic syndrome were more likely to die of cardiovascular disease if their work included physical activity than if it was sedentary. [11]
???In the Copenhagen City Heart Study, high occupational physical activity was associated with higher all-cause mortality. [12]

It seems that when it comes to routine physical activity, more is not better. Exercise is a stressor, and it???s easy to get too much. Being active for eight hours a day is too much.

1
363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on October 19, 2012
at 10:32 PM

I keep reading how sitting all day is bad for you, no matter how physical you are during the rest of your day. I have had both, and I remember feeling better on a day to day basis when I worked outside and moved around all day pruning and planting.

Apparently there are studies indicating that those with desk jobs (I believe men in particular) are more likely to die of heart disease.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/05/14/sitting-all-day-worse-for-you-than-you-might-think.aspx

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17sitting-t.html?_r=1

Anecdotally, I have a coworker who had to get kidney stents from sitting all day at work, and then having a nasty WOW gaming addiction he went home to everyday, and his doctors told him it was from sitting hunched over all day, so now he has a stand up desk at work and had to give up the video games.

1
61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on October 19, 2012
at 10:27 PM

I've had both, too, and I prefer the physical jobs. I used to install kitchen and bath cabinets, and loved it. I would come home very pleasantly sore, tired, hungry, and I would eat like a queen and sleep like a baby.

Now I have the dreaded desk job. I don't have to stay sitting all day at this one, in fact, I get up quite a bit (I work in a dental office so I'm up taking x-rays, seating patients, all sorts of stuff). But even though I'm moving, it's just not hard enough. I come home antsy, mind on the job, and do not eat/sleep as well as I did with physical job, even though back then I was still eating SAD.

1
0a21952679d5c9a60a06594cd4871b27

(215)

on October 19, 2012
at 10:20 PM

I hate desk jobs, in fact being sat down all day was a big part of my decision to leave I.T. - it can't be healthy no matter how fit you are otherwise.

I'm now an electrician and love physically active days.

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