Do you sit for more than six hours as day? Your sedentary work environment is wheeling you and your office chair to an early grave. (Postulations that work is actually killing me? Confirmed!)
A recent study by Medicine & Science followed 17,000 men and women over a period of 13 years. The control group included a broad spectrum of people including non-smokers and those who exercised regularly. The study found that employees who sat for six hours a day were 54 per cent more likely to die from a heart attack than people who had jobs that did not require them to sit in front of a computer.
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A ground-breaking 2010 study by the American Cancer Society studied 123,216 people with no family history or risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke or lung disease. The group was monitored over a 14-year period with some rather disturbing results. Women who sat more than six hours a day were 37 per cent more likely to die prematurely than women who sat for three hours a day or less. With men who sat for six hours a day or more, the mortality rate was 18 per cent higher.
If you're thinking that you don't fall into this category because you head to the gym after sitting at your desk all day, think again. Studies show that extended sitting sessions cannot be compensated for by a couple of hours of exercise a week, no matter how strenuous that exercise may be.
The solution? The standing desk. Standing desks allow you to raise or lower your working surface using a small handle or an electronic mechanism. Standing desks may take some getting used to and having a desk that can be raised and lowered allows you to phase in standing until your body adjusts.
Guerrilla office workers have taken on a more DIY approach to turning themselves into upstanding employees, using boxes, TV dinner trays, coffee tables and chairs to help raise their computers. You may want to use one of these methods to test the waters before jumping in and investing in a standing desk. You can make your own standing desk using the tutorial here.
If the average American reduced the time they spent sitting to three hours per day, their life expectancy would increase by two years.
Office workers who used standing desks were less likely to be obese. This is in part because standing burns 50 calories more every hour, but also because sedentary muscles release lower levels of lipoprotein lipase.
People who use standing desks are also at a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. A 2008 study showed people who sat for longer periods had significantly higher levels of fasting blood glucose because their cells had became less responsive to insulin.
A 2013 study found that, for people already at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, the number of hours a day they spent sitting was a far better indicator of risk than how much exercise they did. This means that exercise is less effective at warding off Type 2 diabetes than using a standing desk would be.
A 2010 Australian study discovered that for each extra hour spent sitting every day, the participant's overall risk of dying over the course of the seven-year study increased by 11 per cent. A 2012 study found that if the average American reduced the time they spent sitting to three hours per day, their life expectancy would increase by two years.
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