There are a bunch of us who just can’t help that we work at a job that requires us to sit at a desk for often long periods of time without getting up, except perhaps to check a printer, a fax, or to meet with a client or another co-worker. These long hours, coupled with going home to relax and sitting to read or watch television, scan the computer screen, results in a lifetime’s worth of sitting. All this sitting around is killing us, and that’s no overstatement. Though there’s been new developments in keeping office workers more active while they work. More needs to be made available in the form of awareness to the public, and how we can easily fix this.
Exercise itself isn’t going to magically erase years worth of damage, but it can get you into the greatest shape you can possibly be at – your peak health! Researchers looked into how best to combat this, and found that longer periods of standing or walking could actually offset many of the health hazards that accompany a sedentary lifestyle.They found that while standing for two minutes every hour did absolutely nothing to help against the effects of sitting all day, walking for two minutes every hour gave a 33% lower risk of dying.That’s big news there, 2 minutes is something we all have at some point during the day, and if we’re taking just those 2 minutes to be sure we’re up moving around, we’re doing ourselves a huge favor. If you’re already prone to getting up frequently through the day at a desk job, then you’re already helping benefit your health.
This is by no means an excuse not to get more exercise in, because more is certainly better in terms of overall health, but if you find your time is always running at a premium and it’s hard to work in time for anything else, this little tip will help quite a lot. The senior author of the aforementioned study, Tom Greene wrote: “the reality is that the practical amount of vigorous exercise that can be achieved is limited.” That’s so true for us all, between work and home life, it’s hard to work in time for anything else without sacrificing something you already have going on.
This doesn’t mean you still need to look at gym time as being an hour to 2 hour ordeal either because recent studies have found that shorter bursts of vigorous exercise beat going all out for sustained exercise in terms of effort versus direct payout. By adding in these shorter and more intense training intervals spaced through your day, you’ll also find you have more energy on tap, plenty to spare, you’ll feel more energized and in less of a brain fog. It won’t take long at all to notice the immediate changes it makes on the body.
Here’s some extra stats to consider: If you’re in an office chair or on your couch for more than 6 hours in a day, your risk of heart disease is increased by 64% which takes away 7 years of your life. You’re also risking certain kinds of cancers which aside from being cancerous in the first place are impossible to continue sitting if you have them due to their location. Here’s a little timeline for you to help understand what your body goes through while sitting.
- 1st – Just after you sit down: Electrical activity and impulses slow and the calorie burning rate drops to one per minute. (Roughly a third of what it would be if you were walking). Sitting for a full 24 hours will reduce your glucose uptake in insulin by 40%, which leads to type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
- 2nd – Two weeks after you’ve sat more than 6 hours daily and you can expect an increase in plasma triglycerides which are fatty molecules, as well as increases in your LDL (bad) cholesterol, and insulin resistance. You won’t be burning fat, and your blood sugars will go up which means weight gain. Your muscles will have already begun to atrophy and your maximum oxygen consumption will drop. Stairs and walks become more difficult for you at this point.
- 3rd – After a year of this, you’ll continue that weight gain and high cholesterol issue with a vengeance, but you will also begin losing bone mass of 1 percent a year. Not only this, but you also have begun to suffer musculoskeletal issues from sitting around the 6 month marker that become degenerative, painful and often end in surgery.
- 4th – Ten to twenty years down the line, you’ve shaved off 7 years of your life, increased your risk of dying to heart disease by 64%, and given yourself a 30% higher risk of developing prostate or breast cancer.
There’s ways to help prevent this every day, just little things that you might ordinarily overlook. Consider buying a pedometer. By knowing how many steps you’ve taken during the day, it may encourage you to keep taking more. When you park at the office, park as far away as possible, and if you live feasibly close enough to work to walk do it! You can even park and ride, or bus close to your work and walk the rest of the way there. Don’t roll around on your office chair to grab things, get up! Yes it’s easier to email a co-worker, but if you don’t need the “paper trail” from the email and just need to ask a question, get up and go talk to them.
If you live in an apartment complex with stairs, use them instead of an elevator, same goes with escalators when you’re at work if you have them. Make multiple trips to bring up the groceries, or down the laundry. Set alarms to get up when you’re relaxing at home, or just get up every time there’s a commercial on. You can even make a game out of it, and when one of your family members says a particular word they use a lot, time to get up and move. It can be just you or the whole family involved.