Feeling healthy and proud to have kicked the cigarette habit, we now have something more to worry about out. Researchers claim that too much time sitting in a chair – like most of us do in the workplace – could lead to an early death. What’s worse, the Annals of Internal Medicine study says that even daily exercise may not be enough to counteract the damage of a 9 to 5 office job.
“For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking,” says Dr. Martha Grogan, cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic. “Today, our bodies are breaking down from obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression, and the cascade of health ills and everyday malaise that come from what scientists have named sitting disease,” says James Levine, MD, PhD.
A report from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine says that sitting time was responsible for 3.8% of all-cause mortality deaths. So what’s a 21st century person to do? JustStand.org lays out the facts about our sedentary culture and offers remedies for healthier living.
The obvious remedy to sitting disease is standing—while you compute or do any number of activities. Some tips include:
Standing Workstation – A recent study published by the CDC indicates adjustable sit-to-stand products are an effective solution for reducing prolonged sitting. You can instantaneously sit or stand as you choose while remaining effectively engaged with your computer.
Stand Up and Stretch –It is important to get the blood flowing with some movement every thirty minutes or so to counter muscle stiffness. The Mayo Clinic’s slide show demonstrates a series of office stretches. “I recommend getting up for 15 minutes after 45 minutes of sitting,” says Dr. Hansen. “Within this 15-minute span, you can stretch, do yoga poses or play with animals. Afterwards, you go back to work with a fresh perspective which is great.”
Standing is like walking: It increases energy, burns extra calories, tones muscles, improves posture, increases blood flow and ramps up metabolism. Standing all day may not be healthy or practical—people naturally want to sit at times to rest or when intensely concentrating.