I have just finished reading a study by Yaro Starak that states “sitting increases death of up to 40%“….
I bet you are wondering how that is even possible when you regularly exercise and have a well-balanced diet. It doesn’t matter, if you are sitting for long periods of time, such as six hours+ a day you are 40% more likely to die fifteen years earlier than somebody who sits less than three hours per day.
I knew sitting for long periods wasn’t good for you but I had no idea of how serious the risks are e.g. postural disorders, obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Further to this, poor posture in a seated position has a compounding effect as the “human body has not been designed to sit“.
Instead, we are meant to be, upright with all of our muscles working in order for,
- Our spine to be supported,
- Good circulation,
- Normal resting metabolic rate,
- And our blood and oxygen flow is working as it should be.
If you go back 100 years these things were all almost non existent as our ancestors had a very physical lifestyle working on their farms and crops day in and day out standing and moving about. However, things have changed since the technological age began. It is now more common to work in an office at a desk eight hours a day, five days a week, which is doing no favors to our posture and wellbeing.
About a year ago I started working at Mogul as the Account Executive, my first job where I had to sit for most of the day. To be honest I have never really been great at sitting down for long periods at a time so from day one I was thinking of ways I could stay active while in the office.
- Park car further away from the office and walk the rest of the way.
- Sit on a swiss ball at your desk.
- Walk to your colleagues instead of emailing them (if the information doesn’t need to be on file).
- Have your printer, stationery cupboard and filing cabinet etc away from your desk so you have to walk to it.
- Get up to make tea/coffee or to get a glass of water (I do this about 6 times a day).
- Take your scrap paper to the recycling bin rather than biffing into bin under your desk.
- Go for a walk around the block on your breaks.
- When printing something stand while you wait for it to finish.
- Walk to the loo to blow your nose.
- Stretch while you wait for the jug to finish boiling.
- Water the plant.
- Stand up desk. (I have not tried this but have heard great things from George who has one in our office from Office Interiors) These are becoming more and more popular!
- Walking WIP, this is something we have discussed as a team and may put in place for 2015.
If you are interested in purchasing a stand up desk here are some tips on what features you should look for,
- Height memory & syncing.
- Multi level surfaces.
- Cable friendly design.
- Enough support.
- Accompanying apps.
- High quality materials.
- A good mat.
See why here.
Being glued to your chair has its tolls over a lifetime as stated above. But like many obstacles in life, it can be prevented. The key is to continue to do regular exercise and have a well balanced diet but most importantly add some of the above into your work days to help stay active while you are at work too.
“It’s easy to overcome. Just get up and move!” Says Dr Peter Dingle,a researcher, educator and public health advocate.
Interesting articles to have a look at if you have time
‘Sitting Increases disease risk…and exercise may not reduce it’ By David McNamme
‘The sitting disease’ By Dr Peter Dingle
‘Not designed to sit’ By Daryl Conant
‘Sitting down is killing you’ By Yaro Starak