Prolonged Sitting at Work Can Be Deadly – Even if You Workout
If you sit at work all day, or for at least 9 hours, you may want to pay attention to recent research. A Study has shown that prolonged sitting at work raises your risk of death from cardiac and metabolic diseases, as well as the risk of death from “all causes”, regardless of whether you exercise. “All causes” refers to premature death regardless of how it happened, which is interesting because one would think a car accident for example has nothing to do with how much sitting you do at work. Still the evidence regarding the independent relationship of total sitting time with all-cause mortality is limited.
Results of the study are based on questionnaire data from 222,497 individuals, which were 45 years or older. The study is called the New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages (Australia) from February 2006 through December 2010. The study examined all-cause mortality in relation to sitting time, adjusting for potential confounders that included sex, age, education, urban/rural residence, physical activity, body mass index, smoking status, self-rated health, and disability.
The results showed that prolonged sitting is a risk factor for all-cause mortality, independent of physical activity.
It suggests that public health programs should focus on reducing sitting time in addition to increasing physical activity levels.
We all know the benefits of a physically active lifestyle are paramount for your wellbeing. However, it can be difficult to accomplish an active lifestyle when a job demands extended hours of prolonged sitting.
The following are some suggestions of how you can accomplish a more “active work lifestyle”:
- Request a standing desk. Many organizations are willing to install a desk that can raise and lower at the push of a button. A standing desk allows you to move around more, which is beneficial for your circulation. Studies have also shown reduced back injuries and less back pain for users of standing desks.
- Lose the massive water bottle. Use a small 8 ounce water glass instead. This will force you to get up more frequently to get your eight glasses a day.
- Get up and walk over to your coworkers when you need to communicate with them. Don’t send an email to the person sitting 10 feet away from you. It will also be good for building rapport with your coworkers and is usually a more efficient way to communicate rather than going back an forth over email.
- If you have a really hard time remembering to get up and walk around, try using an hourly reminder in your calendar that reminds you to take a quick walk somewhere. This can get annoying but can be a good way to get into the habit.
Don’t feel guilty about taking short breaks. Other studies have shown that productivity is significantly higher when we take frequent short breaks rather than infrequent long ones. You brain needs time to recharge as well so recharge your brain and boost your circulation at the same time!