Sitting is the new Smoking
"one of the more serious yet insufficiently addressed public health problems of our time" (WHO) Unfortunately we can't solve this problem by increasing the price of chairs, only allowing them to be varying shades of beige or covering them in pictures of plaque filled arteries or someone too large to play with their children.
This time it is up to individuals to be motivated to make the change for themselves.
How bad is sitting?
- attributed to 2 million deaths per year
- double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity
- increase the risks of: colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression, anxiety, glut weakness, weight gain and hip/back/shoulder/neck pain
- 60 to 85% of people in the world lead sedentary lives including 2/3 of children
- even if you meet the recommended daily activity guidelines from WHO, this can only assist in maintaining a healthy weight; not undo the musculoskeletal changes associated with prolonged sitting
How much do you sit:
It adds up quite quickly. Using myself as an example 30min in the morning, 30min commute, 120min work, 120min work, 180min work, 30min commute, 30min dinner, 180min relaxing. So, as you can see 12 hours of sedentary lifestyle is quite easy to manage.
How to limit the impact of prolonged sitting:
Obvious things first - don't sit for as long. I know this is easier said than done, so, let's make it more manageable. You don't need to invest in a treadmill at your desk or do squats while you're on the phone, what you need are options and little tricks to get you started. As I said before sitting time can become a habit - so too can movement time.
Idea 1: Only sit for a maximum of 45 min then do something to increase the blood flow and stretch your muscles and loosen your joints. Some examples include:
walk to photocopier
walk to colleague to talk rather than phone or email
stand up to take your phone calls
stand on public transport
use the stairs instead of the lift
eat lunch away from your desk
Idea 2: Encourage your workplace to become more aware as well so you can support each other and create an environments that encourages movement.
Standing or walking meetings
Different zones for seated work, standing work, group discussion and meetings
Fit bit challenge
you can have the perfectly set up work station with the best ergonomic furniture but you will still be at risk because JOINTS NEED TO MOVE
Life is too short to be in pain