​Is Sitting the New Smoking? Why You Need To Be More Active In The Office

Sitting Is Just as Bad as Smoking

Technology has brought an array of comforts into our lives, but at the same time every tool has its flaws. Using phones, computer software, and the internet have drastically reduced the requirement of physical activity. Short walks are now almost non existent and prolonged periods of being glued to the chair day after day, watching YouTube or TV is a social norm.

Why the analogy?

Smoking is widely known to be the cause of fatal diseases like cancers etc, but recent studies and research have brought forth an alarmingly high number of risks stemming from the relatively innocent act of sitting! It is observed that people who are sitting continuously for more than 6 hours or more are at an increased risk of multiple serious illnesses, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer.

Also, another scary aspect is that the long-term effects of sitting are not reversible through mere exercises or other such good habits, just like long-term smoking.

Exactly how bad can the situation be?

Below is a list of the many health hazards that may manifest themselves in an otherwise healthy body as an aftermath of prolonged sitting on a long term:

  1. Obesity: Sitting for longer hours can almost always be directly translated into longer periods of inactivity of the body and increased pressure on the bottoms to carry the entire body weight. This in turn leads to slower rate of metabolism and accumulation of fat tissues on the body, especially in the mid-region. Direct result: Obesity.
  2. High Blood Pressure: Again, Lower activity and lower rate of metabolism correlates to increased risk of high blood pressure on the arteries.
  3. Cardiovascular diseases: High Blood pressure and lower metabolic rates along with other factors may trigger different cardiovascular diseases in the victim, and even heart attack.
  4. Diabetes: Long hours of sitting can induce type 2 diabetes in an otherwise healthy body, even if the person daily completes the minimum requirement of 30 minutes of exercise. People already affected with diabetes tend to find their sugar level increased more and more after regular and long hours of inactivity and sitting, despite their morning exercise rituals.
  5. Cancer: Different researches and studies are showing that people, especially women, sitting for more than 6 hours a day are more vulnerable to different types of cancer threats than their more active fellows and friends. The list includes Breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer etc.
  6. Mental illnesses: prolonged hours of sitting paired up with physical inactivity results in serious tendencies of depression and other emotional problems and mental issues in people with apparently no history of such diseases in their background.
  7. Back pain: Continuous sitting puts immense pressure on the vertebrae of the spinal cord and back muscles as the support of legs does not help much in carrying the body weight for that long period. Result: sever back pain. Prolonged exposure to this situation may result in even more sever conditions such as losing the stamina of the spinal cord and its bone structure, nerve and muscle related problems at back.

Way out?

The most basic resolution is to avoid sitting at a stretch for more than 2 hours or so. Here’s a comprehensive list of suggestions that should help in fighting the demon first hand:

  • Increase the level of physical activity during the long stretching sitting hours. Take a stroll; reach out to people in person in the work area.
  • Take stairs instead of elevators while moving up and down the building.
  • Walk while talking over the lengthy call using a wireless or mobile phone.
  • Use chairs and postures that are designed with correct ergonomic aspects to support the neck and back. If possible, use a height adjustable computer stand that would let one work while standing instead of always sitting.
  •  If possible, arrange a treadmill near or at the work desk and make use of it every now and then, at a really slow pace to avoid getting your body over-worked.
  • Always try to complete the daily dose of minimum 30 minutes of exercise regime along with a balanced diet.

When a person sits continuously for more than 6 hours a day, the internal mechanisms keeping the body active slows down, and eventually starts to shut down entirely. Cholesterol and Fat molecules tend to accumulate, blood pressure in the veins and arteries increases, metabolism slows down too. With every instance of movement, the body feels the need to produce more energy (calories) and hence unblocks each of the said processes internally. So, stand up and move to save the day!

If you feel like you and your employees need a quick boost in energy, we have programs set up to help. Reach out to your local representative today for more information.