Ways to Avoid Health Risks Associated with Sitting
You probably don’t literally sit at your desk all day long, but have you ever wondered how many hours you do spend in that chair, shoulders hunched over, lower back aching? According to "Five Health Benefits of Standing Desks," by Smithsonian.com, the average person working in an office spends approximately five hours and 41 minutes sitting at a desk. There’s the occasional stroll to your coworker’s office, the cafeteria or to your car, but in a normal 9:00-5:00 job, nearly six hours is a lot of time to be sitting in a chair.
So what’s the big deal? According to research discussed in the above article, all that sitting can actually be damaging to your health, even if you hit the gym after work. Based on research by Mayo Clinic endocrinologist, James Levine, there are five reasons you should consider trading in that desk and chair for a standing desk.
1) Protect your weight
When you move around, you burn calories; when you sit around, you don’t. Sounds simple, right? The more you take the opportunity to get up and walk around throughout the day, the better. Take the stairs rather than the elevator, go talk to your coworker rather than email them, go on a walk during your lunch break – there are many occasions for moderate exercise. Standing desks naturally require consistent movement during the day, which is your best vice against obesity.
2) Don’t become a victim of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes in many cases can be linked to obesity, but the actual chemical process of controlling glucose is also connected to spending too much time sitting. Essentially, those who spend more time in a chair have a decrease in cell responsiveness to insulin, therefore causing a buildup of glucose in the blood. In order to make sure your body is running efficiently, it’s important to move around throughout the day. Don’t just save exercise for the end of the day.
3) Treat your heart right
As stated in Smithsonian.com, during a study in which certain variables like diet and exercise were controlled, scientists found that “excessive sitters were still 34 percent more likely to develop heart failure than those who were standing or moving.” Your heart thrives on exercise, and as mentioned previously, the average person working at a desk sits nearly six hours per day. Imagine how much more you move around, and exercise your heart, when you sit less and stand more!
4) Steer clear of cancer
Many things are thought to cause cancer these days, but did you know over-sitting is one of them? There is some evidence that a particular protein increases in production in those who sit more and exercise less. Breast and colon cancers are two of the most common cancers that are affected by lack of exercise.
5) Live longer
“A 2012 study found that if the average American reduced his or her sitting time to three hours per day, life expectancy would climb by two years,” scientists discovered. While we do spent a lot of time sitting for activities like driving to the office, attending conferences or watching some TV, the time we spend sitting at work is something we can control; movement is key to a healthier lifestyle.
It’s amazing what a little consistent exercise can do for you. Sure, you can go to the gym every day after work, but the point is that moderate movement continuously throughout the day is best for your body. One of the greatest ways to encourage that kind of movement is using a standing desk, ideally the kind you can lower and raise so you can take breaks and sit every-so-often. It’s a modern idea that is gaining popularity. And if it protects your health, why not try it?