Can Radiologists Achieve Better Health While Working?

Posted by Mike Graham on Aug 20, 2015 9:39:30 AM
Mike Graham

In my past life I worked in outside sales and was pretty active; I later accepted a position requiring me to sit at a desk for the majority of my working day. If anyone had told me then, in the nineties, that sitting at a desk all day could be hazardous to your health, they certainly wouldn’t have been taken very seriously.


The first several weeks after starting my new job, I would go home complaining of neck, back, shoulder, leg, etc. pain to the extent that my wife accused me of working at a sawmill instead of in an office. After a while, I swapped my sitting desk for a sit/stand desk, and to my amazement, the aches and pains decreased drastically. Now when someone tells me that sitting is the new smoking, I definitely know where they are coming from.

Sitting for long periods of time can contribute to the following musculoskeletal issues:

  • Repetitive stress injury

  • Neck strain

  • Back discomfort

  • Shoulder tension

Additional effects of too much sitting include:

  • Osteoporosis

  • Stiff joints

  • Loss of flexibility

  • Muscle weakness

As we all know, when radiologists evolved from interpreting analog images to using digital images, they migrated from mainly standing at light boxes and alternators to a sedentary life of sitting and staring at digital images.

From the conversations I have had with radiologists, it is my understanding that they read images anywhere from eight to twelve hours on any given day (and even longer than that on some occurrences). Whereas many go to the gym or have walking/jogging routines, I am sure there are days that they just don’t have time for exercise due to the demand of their profession (not to mention their obligations to their families). Because free time is limited for many radiologists, being able to supplement their fitness schedules with simply walking while working seems like a win-win situation.

Alternating between sitting and standing and incorporating movement throughout the workday can promote:

  • Weight loss

  • Decreased blood pressure

  • Lower cholesterol

  • Increase in metabolism

  • Better blood flow to the brain, resulting in stronger concentration

  • Increased productivity

As a direct result of increased movement throughout the day, you can expect to experience these added personal and corporate benefits:

  • Increased productivity and/or additional daily reads. Reduced afternoon slump periods.

  • Prevention or management of a wide range of health problems and concerns, including; stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, arthritis and certain types of cancer.

  • Increased heart health (Walking on a treadmill is a great way to look out after your heart, as most heart experts recommend getting around thirty minutes of physical activity in per day.)

  • Burned calories (For an 160 lb. beginner, walking at 2 mph will burn 183 calories, and walking at 3.5 mph will burn 277 calories.)  

James A. Levine, MD, a former CEO of the Mayo Clinic, is a huge proponent of exercising at work. According to an article on him and his findings, cardiologists who read CT scans while using treadmill desks at work were found to have the same level of accuracy, and in some cases even superior results, compared to when they read the scans sitting down.   

Because there are many benefits that relate both personally and professionally to radiologists and healthcare facilities, it is in the best interest of health that all reading rooms start promoting movement throughout the workday and beat the sitting slump.

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Topics: Treadmill and Bike Desks, PACS Radiology Workstation Furniture, Imaging Desks, Healthcare Command Center, Healthcare, Radiology