There has been a lot of talk about this “sitting disease” threatening to kill us all! Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration – but this “disease” does decrease your life expectancy significantly, according to a recent study. An article from Jeff Haden at Inc.com “How I Keep My Job from Killing Me,” about the extremes we can go to in order to avoid this disease, caught my attention.
So, what can you do to combat the “sitting disease” and live a healthier work life? I mean, we all know how it is – you need to sit in order to do your job. It’s hard to avoid. Do you need to go as far as installing the “Treadmill Desk” in order to avoid sudden and wrongful death?
Absolutely not. Here are a few ways to help combat “sitting disease” at much smaller cost and with less impact in your work.
Make an effort to move around
Get up and stretch, take a walk around the office, take a walk around the block, whatever works best for you. Get up and do something every hour. Taking five minutes away from your work every hour won’t hurt you. In fact, it may actually help your productivity. Set intervals and make sure you take them. Trust me, you will feel better throughout the day.
Take the stairs
Need to go to the bathroom? Is there one you can use on a different level? Use that one. Additionally, take the stairs whenever you need to go up or down a few floors — this little act will help you become healthier regardless.
Change your chair
Sitting on an exercise ball would help immensely. You’re not just sitting but you’re engaging your core and promoting better posture. If you’re worried about sitting on a ball, splurge on an exercise ball chair — although I’m not sure it would have quite as much benefit. I would also suggest keeping a regular chair as an option in case you find the action of stabilizing yourself distracting to your work.
Change your desk
This one is a bit costly, but still not as much as the treadmill. If your office/management permits them look into sit-to-stand desks. Adjustable desks allow you to sit or stand while you work and easily transition in between. These are great because you can stand until you become uncomfortable and vice-versa.
Help at home
While going to the gym after work will not solve the problem on it’s own, it will help just to avoid the couch. Now, I’m a culprit of this as well — you’ve had a long day at work, you’re tired, all you want to do is go home and unwind. This generally includes plopping yourself on the couch and reading a book or watching TV until it’s time for bed. Try to avoid that for a few more hours. Go for a walk, or even go out for a few drinks and stand at the bar.
We are all going to be victims of “sitting disease” in one way or another, but taking a few precautions could help with your health and your overall well-being.
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The Centers for Disease Control actually rates inactivity as being one of the top three most deadly activities you do. The average American now spends 50 hours a week or more sitting down, which has put us at risk for not only obesity, but chronic diseases such as cancer and type II diabetes, musculoskeletal injuries, chronic fatigue, and poor posture.
In addition to the ways given in this article to combat the “sitting disease,” research has also show that workers who simply take stretch breaks every hour are not only more productive throughout the work day, but are also able to combat these illnesses and injuries caused by inactivity. This is where The Movement comes in.
The Movement is a state of the art software downloaded directly to your computer that provides the user with a 2-minute series of physician designed stretch micro-breaks once an hour. By utilizing this program, users will see an increase in productivity, life expectancy, focus, energy, and overall health without having to leave the desk. I urge you to visit us at https://www.themovementonline.net/ and join The Movement today!
This looks a lot like the TrekDesk treadmill desk which I already use. As much as I tried to get more active I failed miserably despite my good intentions. The TrekDesk makes this automatic so I don’t have to think about it, just move. You can find it at http://www.trekdesk.com .
Hi there. Great tips. I would definitely recommend an anti-fatigue mat if you are considering switching to standing. Here is an Infographic comparing Sitting vs Standing at Work: http://blog.jpofficeworkstations.com.au/2013/06/sitting-vs-standing-desk-you-decide.html
Meghan, This is an awesome post! Glad to see you informing the world about the dangers of sitting all day. I am lucky enough to work for a company that helped start the causal campaign called “Just Stand.” We are taking all the research about sitting disease, and informing the world to stand as much as possible – especially those that are chained to a desk all day. I think you would be a perfect candidate to join, and there are tools and other information to educate exactly what you are already doing! Check it out @ http://www.juststand.org.
This is a great article, Meghan but a little unfair in suggesting treadmill desks’ benefits are in the same league as standing desks, etc. Please see our new website, http://www.WorkWhileWalking.com, which is solely devote to helping people figure out the entire treadmill desk (and standing desk) scene, advice on building their own, unbiased product reviews on all existing manufacturers, etc. Keep writing about sitting disease, more people need to know what it’s doing to them!