March 30, 2015
In recent times the public have been made aware of an increasing body of research discussing the impact of sitting on our heath, and the news isn’t good.
Studies have shown the average office worker can sit for as long as 13-15 hours per day compared to people in an agriculture environment who sit for about 3 hours per day. Research unfortunately shows that even vigorous exercises cannot counteract the adverse effects of prolonged sitting.
Evidence shows sitting actively promotes dozens of chronic illnesses and that’s even if you’re very fit. The following is a list if diseases that evidence have shown a relationship to chronic prolonged sitting;
The fact that these constitute some of the biggest killers and causes of dysfunction in the developed world should be quite alarming.
Dr Levine (an expert in this field who authored the book Get Up! Why your chair is killing you and what you can do about it) describes our lifestyles as being the reverse of what they should be. We are clearly designed to rest from time to time to break up the regular activity that should dominate our day. Instead we sit for a great portion of the day which is essentially rest and then occasionally (if we are good) do some exercise for a short period of the day.
So what do we do about it?
The answer is just Get Up! It has been shown that within 90 seconds of standing, the cellular and molecular systems that process blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol (mediated by insulin) are activated. Therefore just standing up and walking around can be one of the healthiest things you can do.
Here are some tips to incorporate into your life;
Try not to sit for longer than 3 hours per day. Look at you average day and calculate the amount of time you spend sitting. That’s at work, travel and at home. You’ll probably quickly realise the shocking amount of time you spend sitting. Now try and find ways that you can cut this down. Three hours might seem challenging so just try and trim down an gradually move towards this time frame.
Try not to sit for longer than 10-15 minutes. I know this is not easy for everybody based on your work environment but I know many people that structure there office work life to force them to get up and move regularly. Set an alarm on your phone to force you to get some water, go to the toilet etc. Make your environment force you to get up and get things.
Move to a standing office desk. Several major companies have now decided to move to a standing work environment. I believe the NAB bank is one of these. Not only are there added health benefits but research has shown a reduction in absenteeism and better productivity. You will notice that our offices are set up as a mostly standing environment and in Blackburn even have a sit-stand desk.
Make walking part of your daily routine. We should ideally be walking 7000-10,000 steps per day. Pedometers or fitness trackers are becoming a trending item and are a great tool to measure your general level of daily activity.
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