If you’re sitting comfortably in your office chair or sofa while reading this then you may want to consider standing.
Studies have found that sitting for more than 6 hours per day makes you up to 40% more likely to die within 15 years than someone who sits less than 3 hours per day. In a nutshell, being lazy is killing you. If you spend more than 6 hours sitting at a desk then perhaps you should consider investing in an adjustable standing desk.
What is sitting disease?
‘Sitting Disease’ is a collective term now used by doctors to describe a series of health issues that originate from sitting for too long.
Conditions such as type 3 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer are found to be more prevalent in people who lead a sedentary life according to 47 different studies.
Sitting disease is now classified as a bigger killer than smoking
A study completed in Australia in 2008 found that every hour of sedentary watching TV cuts 22 minutes off of our life span, this is contrasted with the a study stating that every cigarette shortens a smoker’s lifespan by 11 minutes.
How does sitting actually affect the body?
It seems strange to think that something as simple as relaxing can cause so much harm to the body when overused. Some interesting things happen to the body when we sit…
- Electrical activity in the leg muscles shuts off- causing loss of muscle (atrophy)
- Calorie burning drops to 1 calorie per minute
- Fat burning enzymes drop in activity by 90%
- Good cholesterol drops by 20% causing bad cholesterol to rise
- Insulin effectiveness drops by 25% increasing the risk of type two diabetes.
- Back pain and shoulder tension occurs
- Risk of cancer increases, mainly in the colon due to constriction
These stats are not just for the people who sit all day, these are for everyone and they kick in as soon as you sit down.
What are the signs of sitting disease?
The symptoms of sitting disease can be mistaken for simply being tired, but they are generally a precursor for something much more serious.
Take a look at your posture right now. Are you sitting up straight, engaging your core with your shoulders pushed back or are you relaxed and hunched over? Unless you’re a ballerina you’ve probably answered, hunched and slouched. Slouching not only makes you appear unprofessional it also affects your body internally. If you’re a regular sloucher you will have very little core stability, tight hips, reduced flexibility, flabby glutes and an unsupported back.
An aching lower back and shoulders is a common symptom of sitting disease as it indicates that you are not using your core to support your back. Prolonged periods of sitting also cause the muscles in your back to shorten and tighten, this makes you appear hunched with your shoulders around your ears.
As mentioned earlier, fat burning enzymes decrease while seated. Pair this with the common habit of desk-snacking and it’s easy to pile on the kilos. Poor posture while sitting also means you lose muscle tone in your core so you can kiss those abs goodbye. By standing at your desk instead of sitting you can burn up to 30% more calories.
Lack of energy and focus
Sitting for long periods of time causes your blood pressure to drop, causing you to feel sleepy, drowsy, unfocused and drained. Sitting also causes blood sugar levels to increase which can cause chronic fatigue.
How to avoid sitting disease
Get an adjustable standing desk
An adjustable standing desk is the easiest way to ensure you are getting on your feet while in the office. Here at Resource Furniture we offer range of adjustable desks to encourage standing instead of sitting. We can consult with you to find the right solution for your design.
Our desks allow you to choose your custom height either electronically or manually so you can work comfortably on your feet.
It was at first thought that regular exercise of at least 30 minute could help mitigate the effects of prolonged sitting, but recent studies have now debunked that theory, stating that regular exercise simply cannot override a constant sedentary lifestyle. While exercise may not be able to completely reverse the effects of sitting all day, it certainly helps improve cardiovascular capacity and muscle tone.
Add in incidental exercise
Take the stairs, walk around the office, go for a short walk at lunch, take the long way to work or get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. Any extra time on your feet instead of your bottom will help decrease the effects of sitting.
It’s also important to take regular stretching breaks. Stand up and stretch your arms and legs to promote flood flow and muscle tone.
Humans were not built to sit behind desks under fluorescent lights for hours on end.
You may not have much control over the time you spend sitting at your desk, however with a few small changes you can take some positive steps towards improving your health.
We are happy to consult with businesses to roll out large solutions for standing desks.