In nature there are certain shark species that constantly need to move or else they die. The reason for that is that they need constant movement of water over their gills to extract the oxygen out of the water and that in return lets them breath. The moment they stop moving they stop producing the oxygen their body needs. Nature is full of these types of examples.
Should we as the human race not be more like our worldly counterparts?
Research is showing us more and more that the newest disease killing our fellow man is not one under a microscope, but more in the form of our everyday human condition.
Various research studies have linked sitting (over long periods of time) to a number of health concerns these include:
- increased blood pressure
- high blood sugar
- excess body fat around the waist and
- high cholesterol levels
Too much sitting increases your risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
One of these studies showed that adults who spent more than 4 hours a day sitting in front of a tv or entertainment screen, had nearly 50% increased risk of death compared to those who spent 2 hours or less!
The study also showed that the the same participant had a 125% increased risk of all major cardiovascular diseases.
Any extended sitting — such as behind a desk at work, behind the wheel or as shown, in front of the tv— can be harmful. What’s more, spending a few hours a week at the gym or otherwise engaged in moderate or vigorous activity doesn’t seem to significantly offset the risk.
Fortunately for human kind there is an easy cure for this disease.
Less sitting and more moving.
You might start by simply standing rather than sitting whenever you have the chance or think about ways to walk while you work.
Below we have compiled a list of easy steps to decrease the average days work time sitting.
Take periodic ‘mini-breaks’ at your desk do some stretches to loosen your shoulder and neck muscles and shift position.
Get up and walk around every hour, this is good for blood circulation and will improve your concentration.
If you work in an open plan office and need to speak to a colleagues, walk over to their desk, rather than calling out to them.
Take the stairs as much as possible.
Watch your office posture:
- A good office chair is always an investment
- Sit close to your work station
- Use the backrest of your chair and do not slump forward
- Keep the key board at a level that doesn’t require much reaching and isn’t too high or too low
- Keep your monitor at eye level, consider raising it if possible
- Sit with your legs flexed at 90-100 degree angle with your feet resting comfortably
- Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.
- If you work at a desk for long periods of time, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter
- Walk laps with your colleagues rather than gathering in a conference room for meetings
The muscle activity needed for standing and other movement seems to trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. When you sit, these processes stall — and your health risks increase.