The Ill Effects of Sitting
Watch the news and it’s likely you’ll hear a story about how the “act of sitting” is bad for you. The storylines are not just about how poor posture can lead to chronic pain, but more that the act of sitting can actually cause premature death. It’s not really new news that most Americans spend a majority of the day sitting in front of the computer, or in the car and on the couch watching T.V. The average American spends 55% of waking time (7.7 hours a day) in sedentary behaviors such as sitting. (I’ve heard those kinds of statistics before so that wasn’t shocking). The news that made my eyes wide was from the findings of a study by the Annals of Internal Medicine. This study suggested that the amount of time a person sits during the day is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and death, regardless of regular exercise.
That last part of that sentence, really floored me….“regardless of regular exercise”. The study suggests that even if you go to the gym after a long day of sitting in front of your computer, you are still going to suffer the ill effects of sitting. The medical community has even given it a name, “Sitting Disease”. (Click Here for even more tips to avoid Sitting Disease).
“More than one half of an average person’s day is spent being sedentary — sitting, watching television, or working at a computer,” said Dr. David Alter, Senior Scientist, Toronto Rehab, University Health Network (UHN), and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. “Our study finds that despite the health-enhancing benefits of physical activity, this alone may not be enough to reduce the risk for disease.”
It’s shocking to me that regular exercise will not undo the damage caused by days of working in a seated position at your desk. As the video suggests, many companies, in an effort to support a healthier working environment, are making the shift toward outfitting their employees with stand-up desks. Several studies have shown that stand-up desks offer workers less back problems, increased productivity, increased energy, higher calorie burn, etc. Stand-up desk adopters have documented these numerous health benefits scientifically and anecdotally. If you think it’s time you tried a stand-up desk. Here are a few easy tips to get you started:
- Wear comfortable shoes. Standing in bad shoes over time will cause foot pain and even damage. Also, consider buying an anti-fatigue floor mat, which is critical for standing desk success.
- The great thing about a standing desk is that it is adjustable! Change from sit to stand often to avoid any repetitive injuries. If you find yourself fidgeting in either the sitting or standing position, it’s time to change it up. Don’t forget to focus on your overall posture when standing (or sitting for that matter).
- Be sure you have an ergonomic setup on your desk. If you find yourself bending down to view a monitor, STOP and get yourself a monitor stand to raise it up. No matter where you are working, your monitor’s top line of text should be even with your eyes, and then let your gaze fall to the middle of your screen. If you enjoy working on your laptop, simply get a monitor and hook it up with a cable.
And in the end, if you are not quite ready to get out of your chair just yet, it’s still important to get up and move periodically! You can battle against those life-shortening side effects of sitting by downloading an app like Twenty (Android) or Standup (iOS) which will remind you to get up and walk around at regular intervals.
If you want to find out more about the benefits and options of standing desks at the office, contact us. ROSI Office Systems knows how to work-fit at the office and offers a variety of sit-to-stand and even treadmill desk solutions.