Do you sit too much?
Why is sitting less, better for your health?
Reversing the effects of sitting
It may be that you’ve just had a nice break from work and miraculously, those aches and pains that you had before the holidays have all but disappeared. Okay, how did that happen? And now that you’re back at work again, the back ache, the tight neck and shoulders, or the pain in your wrist is beginning to make itself known again. What to do?
Well a new year has just begun and perhaps as you get ready for the work that is ahead, it is a very opportune time to be thinking about what adjustments you can make to your work set-up that will improve your work experience; especially in the realm of your health and wellbeing.
Now, there are a lot of options to look at in this area but one of the first you could consider, is a height adjustable desk.
For example, over the last 12 months I have been using a height adjustable desk at my work place and as I alternate between sitting and standing I’ve become more and more aware of the benefits of this type of work station set-up. My experience led me to do some research on this subject and I would like to share some of this with you.
First of all, have you ever calculated the number of hours that you sit during the day? Here’s an example of a typical day for many people.
|You get up in the morning and you sit down for breakfast||30 mins|
|You commute to work by car or public transport||45 min|
|You sit in your office working on a computer or sit in meetings||7.00 hours|
|You sit for lunch||30 min|
|You commute back home||45 min|
|You sit down for dinner||45 min|
|You watch TV or surf the web||2.00 hours|
|Total number of hours sitting||12.25 hours|
The total number of hours in this scenario is relatively conservative—many people sit for much longer. Now, once you have worked out how many hours you sit during the day and then look at recent studies that show the negative health effects that come from prolonged periods of sitting—you may be quite shocked. I know I was.
We have become a society of sitters!
Recent scientific studies from very reputable organisations show that sitting for long periods of time can cause serious health issues.
To quote from an article on the Heart Foundation’s website
Adults who sit less throughout the day have a lower risk of early death particularly from cardiovascular disease (CVD)
Most research so far has been on how watching television affects health, because watching television is the most common leisure activity among adults. Adults who watch less than two hours of television a day are less likely to have type 2 diabetes or be obese, and have a lower risk of developing CVD.
The reverse is also true the more time an adult spends watching television, the higher their risk of health problems.
You can read the full article here.
Marc Hamilton, an inactivity researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre says that with the inactivity of sitting, “Electrical activity in the muscles drops — “the muscles go as silent as those of a dead horse,” Hamilton says — leading to a cascade of harmful metabolic effects. Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises. So does the risk of being obese. The enzymes responsible for breaking down lipids and triglycerides — for “vacuuming up fat out of the bloodstream,” as Hamilton puts it — plunge, which in turn causes the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol to fall.
Read full article here.
I could go on and on quoting researchers and scientists that give evidence on the ill-effects of sitting for extended periods of time—there is just so much of it.
One of the ways to reverse the effects of sitting is to simply stand up. This is why Height Adjustable Desks or Sit/Stand Desks are becoming more and more popular. James Levine, a researcher at the Mayo clinic says,
"Step one is get up. Step two is learn to get up more often. Step three is, once you're up, move," he says. "And what we've discovered is that once you're up, you do tend to move."
This has certainly been my experience since I started using a height adjustable desk. I work in an office setting where I sit for 50% of the time and stand for the other 50%. I find that when I am standing I tend to move around much more. I move my arms and legs and twist my torso and do side bends every now and then because I am in a position (standing) that encourages this kind of activity.
I find when I am feeling tired during work or I have the beginnings of a back or shoulder ache it is always associated with a prolonged period of sitting. I know this because when I raise my desk to standing height and stand up, the aches mysteriously disappear and the feeling of tiredness starts to dissipate.
As a result, my productivity and creativity increases because my mind is not occupied by aches and pains or numbed by tiredness.
There are so many benefits associated with less time sitting and more time standing and moving—the above lists just a few.
To find out more about the options for height adjustable desks visit our website or visit our showroom here in Surrey Hills, Melbourne, or call and speak to one of our very knowledgeable staff.
Just the simple act of getting out of your chair more often could not only improve the quality of your health and wellbeing, but literally add years to your life!