Updated: May 8, 2019
Have you ever Googled the risks of sitting all day at work? We have, and they're not something we want to think about. Even if it is from the comfort of our ergonomically designed workstations and chairs.
Because our focus is on the health benefits of our product range, we look into health related work illnesses and injuries so we can understand which products have the best features and benefits for our clients - YOU!
According to Better Health Victoria and the Mayo Clinic, a sedentary lifestyle can be dangerous to your health by rising the chance of being overweight; developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, heart disease; elevated cholesterol levels, a decrease in skeletal muscle mass; and experiencing anxiety and depression.
"Worldwide, it is estimated that a sedentary lifestyle is responsible for 6% of coronary heart disease cases, 7% of type 2 diabetes, 10% of breast cancer and 10% of colon cancer cases. In fact, it was recently reported that inactivity is responsible for more annual deaths than smoking. " - Lifespan Fitness
Yes, yes, you say, but HOW does sitting equate to poor health?
Your cardiovascular, respiratory and digestive systems are built to work at their best as you stand, so when you aren't physically active, they slow down their processing abilities. This can be from sitting at a desk all day, your daily commute, watching hours of TV or playing card games, or long lie ins on the weekend that we don't even think about!
Now that you understand the long term effects, how about hearing some of the shorter term effects that you might be noticing right now?
Muscle Wastage & Lowered Endurance:
When sitting for extended periods, the large muscles in your lower body can begin to weaken and waste away meaning that it becomes more of an effort to walk (decreasing your endurance), you are more prone to injury if you fall, or your chance of developing strains and pains when you DO exercise will increase.
It's not JUST your glutes and quads that are affected though; sitting for long periods can also shorten your hip flexor muscles, leading to problems with your hip joint, mobility and flexibility and also causing you to feel stiff and sore.
Notice that lower back pain or stiffness at the end of the day? Now you know why. Poor posture contributes to this ever-growing problem within the Australian working population, so if you want to try and ease the pain; invest in an ergonomically designed workstation or chair, and get your boss clued up about sit-to-stand desks!
Poor posture can also lead to compressed discs in the spine, leading to degeneration, which can be very painful!
Your metabolism is what fuels your digestion system, burning what you eat instead of storing it as fat (namely fats and sugars). If you spend a long time being sedentary, digestion becomes sluggish, so you store the foods you eat as 'fat' in your body, and often have associated bowel issues like constipation.
While we commonly read that you should aim for at least 10,000 steps per day, the latest research shows that we should be aiming for 60-75 minutes of moderate-intensity activity to combat the dangers of excessive sitting. That could be a solid walk where you struggle to hold a conversation, yoga, cardio or weights at the gym, dancing, sports, running, cycling, swimming... You've got a lot of options!
While we often talk about physical health when discussing office furniture, we sometimes neglect the effects on mind. While a lot of the physical health issues are fairly transparent while discussing office furniture, mental health issues such as anxiety, *depression and mood swings are often thought completely unrelated.
People that spend most of their time sitting, are probably also missing the positive effects of physical activity and a solid fitness regime like the flow of endorphins, a healthy digestive tract, and even the benefits of being in nature and how it works on the psyche.
If your office team spends a lot of time sitting at work, why not start a lunchtime walking group to get the blood pumping, creative juices flowing and productivity ticking? Certainly beats eating lunch with a computer screen blaring at you!
Early Symptoms of Disease:
Most people only take cancer and heart disease seriously when it has affected them or someone directly related to them, but if precautions are taken earlier in life, you can decrease your chances in the long term.
Lung, uterine and colon cancers are all associated with long bouts of sitting, and although the reason behind this is not yet known, emerging studies are linking it to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles.
"Some experts say that people who are inactive and sit for long periods have a 147% higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke." - Better Health Victoria
A recent study found that men who watch just over 3 hours of TV per night, have a 64% higher risk of dying from CV disease than men who watch less than 2 hours per night. Time to make some changes outside of office hours?
If those four topics are raising your concern around sitting for extended hours, then try these top 12 TIPS to incorporate more movement into your day:
Set your alarm an hour earlier, and do get into HIIT training to boost your metabolism ALL DAY LONG.
Walk to the next bus or train station, and get in some extra steps before you hit the office door.
Always take the stairs instead of the lift to build muscles in your quads, glutes and calves.
Walk your messages, phone calls and meetings instead of taking them at your desk
Pause once an hour to stretch, move and get a drink of water!
Get outside for a walk at lunchtime to clear your mind, move your legs and enjoy the sunshine.
Ask your boss why you're office isn't following suit and investing in sit-to-stand desks like the rest of the WORLD...
Check out the idea of a treadmill or spinning desk and multi-task!
Create a "movement challenge" in your workplace and cheer your colleagues on for the cause.
Go to an exercise class after work to sweat out the day that was, de-stress and rev up the endorphins!
Break-Out the trackies, put on your fav music, and dance around the house while completing your weekly cleaning.
See how many push-ups, crunches or burpees you can do in each ad-break while watching MAFS...
If you have ideas that we've missed, we would LOVE to hear from you! In the meantime, we're also happy to share how the latest office furniture equipment can boost your metabolism and help prevent a myriad of associated health issues. For more information, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Wishes in wellness,
The Balance Team
*If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, please reach out to Lifeline Australia and find out how you can get help. Letting someone know you care, can make a big difference, and potentially even save a life.