DANGERS OF SITTING TOO MUCH
With the advent of tv, computers, video games and the desk job, we’re sitting down more than ever before in history. 9.5 hours a day, even more time than we spend sleeping (7.7 hours). Our bodies weren’t built for that, and it’s starting to take its toll. Findings have shown that the average adult spends 8.9 hours a day sitting. This rising trend of inactivity at work is contributing to a staggering amount of health issues that compelling evidence has linked to prolonged sitting. You might want to stand up for this.
When we sit, we use a lot less muscles than when we stand or move around. When we sit, our larger skeletal muscles (legs, back, behind) shut down, which has several negative influences on cellular processes in our muscles and tissues. It lowers LPL/HDL levels in our blood (cholesterol, responsible for transporting fats) and the decomposition of plasma triglycerides (fat) drops. The amount of fat burning enzymes in your blood can drop with up to 90% in 1 hour. This increases the risk of obesity and several cardio vascular diseases…
And that’s just the beginning! Research has shown that sitting for long periods of time increases the risk of heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, cancer, stroke, thrombosis, back complaints, obesity, metabolism-distortions, osteoporosis, depression, dementia,… So are we all a lost cause due to our sedentary lifestyle and far going automation? Luckily, no! There are numerous ways to break through our sedentary habits and to implement more movement into our lifestyles.
MOVING PAYS OFF
Every movement helps, getting up for a moment, stretching, walking around, anything! Ideally you should get up to move around every 20 minutes. One of the healthiest solutions is a walk desk. This is a standing desk, mounted over a treadmill. The idea is to walk a few hours every day at low speeds (0.8-2.5 kmh), while performing your tasks at work. Walking is a natural movement that doesn’t require any thinking and has very healthy effects on your body. It ensures a strong and healthy blood circulation, strengthens your bones and immune system, improves brain functions and improves your concentration (and thus increases productivity).
An extra plus, is that you burn a lot more calories while walking, so you can lose weight while working. It’s also relaxing, improves posture and makes you sound a lot more lovely. Half an hour of (medium-)intense exercise can’t compensate the negative effects of sitting all day, but moving around more during the day isn’t a replacement for exercise either. It’s merely an addition to counter the negative effects of sitting for too long.
We need to invest in our health and wellbeing and encourage better practice within our workforces. Sit-stand-walk desks are only the beginning in creating a more dynamic workplace. Even making small changes in the initial office design can encourage us to interact more with our surroundings and cut sitting time.