Posted by: BeneFIT Corporate Wellness
Date: April 28, 2014
On average, how many hours do you sit during the day? Think about the time you spend at work, in the car, while eating or in front of the television. According to a recent national survey, reported on by the Mayo Clinic:
- 50 to 70 percent of people spend six or more hours sitting each day
- 20 to 35 percent spend four or more hours watching television each day
Surprised it’s so high? Maybe surprised it’s not even higher?
The risks of sitting too much
Leading a sedentary lifestyle leaves individuals more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes or certain cancers (breast and colon, in particular).
Also, the Mayo Clinic reports that research has linked sitting too much with a number of additional health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome, as well as increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.
The list of potential health impacts is long and may include:
- Organ damage
- Muscle degeneration
- Sore/strained back or neck
- Leg disorders
Less sitting and more moving
According to an article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, desk-based office employees sit for an average of six hours during an eight-hour workday.
To make a positive change, the solution goes beyond simply adding more physical activity to a sedentary lifestyle. Instead, individuals have to practice sitting less whenever, and wherever, possible.
Here are six tips to incorporate throughout your day:
- Get up and move for 10 minutes of every hour—for instance, stand up to talk on the phone or deliver messages in person rather than by email. Experts recommend if you’ve been sitting for an hour, you’ve been sitting too long.
- Some companies have invested in standing or height-adjustable desks which allow for flexibility without much disruption in productivity. Talk with your human resources department if you feel this could offer your company a good alternative, even if it is installing just a few in common meeting areas to start. Improvise by utilizing an existing high counter or table.
- Stretch, stretch and stretch again. The Mayo Clinic offers eight stretches that you can use throughout the day. One for every hour of your average work day! They work your shoulders, upper arms, chest, neck, head, lower back and thighs.
- Organize a walking club during office lunch hours. Or, talk with your supervisor about instituting walking meetings as an alternative to using traditional conference rooms. Either as part of the club, or as an initiative on your own, carry a pedometer, wear wireless technology or download an app to your phone to track your steps and measure results.
- If you are able, consider commuting to work by walking or bicycling. For drivers, try choosing a parking space that’s farthest from the door. This is a good habit to adopt when visiting grocery stores or other retail parking lots.
- When watching television, walk around your home during commercial breaks. Even a casual stroll is an upgrade from sitting. Introducing a more vigorous form of exercise during those short breaks is even better; for instance, running up and down a flight of stairs or jumping rope.
For more information on ways to incorporate more movement into your work routine, please contact us.
You may also be interested in the following articles: Walk More to Live Longer and Taking Steps toward Better Health
Disclaimer: The information presented is for your general knowledge and does not replace the advice of a physician. All medical inquiries regarding your health should be presented to a physician.