QUIT SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE: YOUR CHAIR MIGHT BE HURTING YOU
When you think of the things that could threaten your life, never in your wildest dreams would a chair be behind it— unless, of course, you are convicted of capital punishment. Based on recent studies, your chair could be hurting you and is perhaps the biggest potential threat to your health in the modern world.
Think of it, the modern human spends two hours on transit to and from work or school and spends another 5-7 hours seated in front of a computer. Later in the evening, spends another 2-3 hours watching their favorite shows before retiring to bed; that’s averagely 10 hours seated.
Humans are designed to stand upright; living a sedentary lifestyle could pose a threat to your health. Your heart and cardiovascular system work more effectively when you are standing, same with your bowels, that is why bedridden patients in hospitals often experience bowel problems. Prolonged sitting isn’t just bad for your heart and bowels; it can also lead to life-threatening conditions, including being overweight, cancer, and diabetes type 2.
How Is Prolonged Sitting at Work a Threat to My Health?
According to recent health studies, prolonged sitting has been linked to various life-threatening health issues. Extensive sitting is a silent killer that slowly affects your lifestyle, exposing you to cardiovascular disease, diabetes type 2, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, cancer, and obesity.
Moving your muscles helps your body digest sugars and fats that you eat. Therefore, spending too much time sitting makes your digestion process inefficient. Your body will retain more fats and sugars, leading to obesity. It doesn’t matter if you hit the gym at the end of the day; if you spend too much time seated, you are still at the risk of other health issues such as metabolic syndrome. According to medical experts, you’ll need about 60 to 70 minutes of moderate-intensity activity to deal with the effects of prolonged sitting.
Neck, Back and Sciatica Pains
A study conducted by Cornell University discovered that up to 90 percent more pressure is exerted on your lower back seated compared to standing. In the U.S, back pain issues in one of the most common problems, with one out of four individuals experiencing back pain once in three months.
In case your monitor is below your eye level, and you spend a lot of time looking down at your phone, you are at the risk of developing postural kyphosis, which leads to back pain and neck pain as well as fatigue.
Excessive sitting has been linked with heart disease. A research study done on men who watch more than 23 hours of television in a week found they had a 60 percent chance of dying from cardiovascular disease, compared to men who only spent 11 hours per week watching their favorite shows. Another study found out that individuals who remain inactive and sit for prolonged periods have a 140 percent chance of suffering from a stroke or heart attack.
It is believed that several types of cancers can be caused by living a sedentary lifestyle. While the underlying mechanisms that sitting increases the risk of cancer are still unclear, medical experts have discovered a biomarker, C-reactive protein, that is in higher levels in individuals who spend a lot of time seated.
How to Reduce Extensive Sitting in the Workplace
The world is evolving; more and more people are earning a living working 9-5 jobs that entail spending a lot of time seated working on a computer. So, how can you reduce the health risks involved? Fortunately, you don’t have to quit your job; instead, “sit less and move more.”
There are a lot of options for office workers tying to include physical activity into their daily routines. And while a treadmill desk might not be feasible, getting a standing desk is ideal. Employers can introduce standing desks, which normally have an adjustable feature allowing your computer to raise to a comfortable level for use standing. With a standing desk, you can switch between the traditional chair level to standing.
Include standing into your daily work routine
Not every office will provide a standing desk for their employees. Therefore, you can include standing in your daily routine. Start taking calls or breaks or eating standing. It’s possible to read while standing, especially if you are not required to type. Instead of contacting a workmate from a different department through the phone, if it’s not urgent, walk to their cubicle instead. Get up and move around and stretch at least once in an hour.
In case you are not getting enough physical activity in your day, it is not too late to turn around. You can slowly start incorporating movement into your day by simply:
- Taking the stairs
- If it’s safe, walk or cycle to work
- Take some time off your lunch break to walk around your workplace
- Include daily exercises into your routine