Sitting could just be the new smoking. Many office workers are in danger of, quite literally, sitting themselves to death and should urgently kick this unhealthy habit. In fact, a number of studies have shown a wide range of negative health implications that are caused by sitting for hours each day.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) warns that physical inactivity can lead to heart ailments and other non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and certain types of cancer, and is estimated to be responsible for more than 1.9 million deaths worldwide each year.
As technology has, and continues, to take over the tasks that used to be performed by muscle, millions of people worldwide find themselves sitting behind a desk, gazing at a computer screen. And, while many mistakenly assume that going to gym for a few hours a week can counter the effects of sitting, it doesn’t seem to offset the risk.
Rising levels of physical idleness are largely attributed to urbanisation, greater use of cars, less space for walking or recreation in cities and, particularly, the shift towards desk-bound work. As awareness of the dangers of prolonged sitting has grown, so has the use of standing desks. Not for everyone, it might be a good idea to try out a cheaper, equally effective, option before investing in an ergonomically designed standing desk. Grab a box or small chest of drawers and place it on top of your existing desk. You could also get creative with ordinary items around the office, like a box of printer paper, to create your own standing desk.
If you work in an environment where you can’t use a standing desk and alternate between standing and sitting, here are some handy tips to make sure you lessen the effects of prolonged periods at your desk:
- Take movement breaks every 30 to 45 minutes by getting up and walking around the office.
- Rotate your feet while sitting in your chair to boost circulation to your legs.
- Stretch forward in your chair to stretch your back and neck muscles.
- Park near the back of the parking lot, forcing you to walk more.
- Walk over and talk to a coworker instead of emailing them.
- Take the scenic route to the bathroom instead of the most direct.
- Stay active after hours by taking an evening walk or visiting the gym.
If you are concerned about your health, be sure to contact Resolution Health for a no-obligation quote on a health option that suits your needs.