Daily Archives: September 28, 2011

The Dangers of Sitting

Dangersitting_Sept_2011_web For thousands of years, we’ve worked for a living with the sweat on our brow and using the arms and legs we were given. But, in modern times with the advent of technology, many have traded their elbow grease for electronic gadgets, worn out chisels for office chairs, and muscle strength for mobile service. The British Medical Journal Group reports adults spend an average of 9.3 hours sitting down a day, not including 7.7 hours the average adult sleeps every night. The BMJ’s findings about the effects of increased sedentary behavior are quite alarming. We’re hoping you’ll stand for this.

Getting Down With the Sickness

Research indicates that extended stretches of sitting and lack of whole body muscular movement is being strongly associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and an overall higher risk of death. For years, physicians have recommended 30-60 minutes of exercise every day to counteract the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. But, with the popularity of big screen TVs and the Internet causing adults to be inactive after work, the recommended workout routine isn’t helping battle diseases linked to idleness.

Rise to the Occasion

There are many things you can do at work to improve your health, but getting active is the most important factor to consider. For many, working in an office and sitting at a desk for eight hours a day can make it difficult to find opportunities to get moving. Here are some simple tasks for you to do at work to help get your body going and the blood flowing.

Talk to Your Co-Workers.

Instead of typing an email or picking up the phone, walk to your co-workers’ desk when you need to speak to them. This face-to-face communication style has been shown to improve office relationships, and it will help get you moving.

Use the stairs. Do you really need to use the elevator to go up two or three stories? You might save time and get a spark of energy taking the stairs to your office. If you work in a large skyscraper, stop on a floor a few stories below and take the stairs the rest of the way.

Take 10. If you have an office job that involves mostly computer work, schedule 10 minutes every hour to get up and stretch. If you’re pressed for time and have to keep working, carry out duties that can be done standing, like filing folders or making phone calls.

Take a hike. If you don’t use your whole lunch break to eat, spend half of it taking a leisurely walk outside.

Stand when answering the phone. If you can, walk around your desk or office during the call. 

Park it. Get some extra walking time by parking your car a longer distance away from work. Try parking the farthest space from the building. If you use public transportation, get off one or two spots before your destination and walk the rest of the way. 

There’s an app for that. If you have a smartphone, there are several applications and executables that help monitor and encourage activity. Morsel is a mobile program that gives you small, easily achievable actions you can do to avoid stillness. Activities from Morsel, like “Stretch your arms out to the side and move them in circles 10 times,” get you moving without disrupting your co-workers.

Adults who perform frequent physical activity, like going to the gym and playing sports, but work at desks and sit the rest of the day are now being labeled by physiologists as “active couch potatoes.” These active couch potatoes are still as likely to suffer the same health risks as those who do not exercise regularly. When working at your desk, consider taking a few minutes to get active.

If you have a desk job, what do you like to do to improve your health?



By Jared Cole