If a co-worker has said to you “Someone has a case of the Mondays!” then you may be in an office environment where sitting is the predominant “activity.” Sitting for periods lasting longer than twenty minutes is harmful to your health…yes, twenty minutes. Today people sit at an alarmingly high rate. People work eight to nine hour days sitting at a desk, and of those eight to nine hours, most people are able to count on their hand how many times they take a break from sitting. Take a break from sitting. What a conundrum!
Sitting has harmful effects to your body, and you might want to stand for this. Prolonged sitting has been linked to decreased metabolism (increased adiposity), type II diabetes, heart disease (heart valve problems, atherosclerosis, arrhythmias, heart attack, and stroke), breast cancer, and colon cancer. If that doesn’t get your attention, then this next part will. A study showed that men who reported more than 23 hours per week of sedentary activity have a 64 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease than men who reported 11 hours of sedentary activity. The inactivity of large muscle groups like the hamstrings, hip flexors, abdominals, and gluts contributes to adiposity and muscle degeneration (Meghan Trainor would be disappointed).
If you are a desk jockey or have a job requiring you to sit, there is hope. There are multiple wrist bands (Jawbone or Fitbit) that will notify you of prolonged inactivity thus vibrating or signaling you to move after a certain amount of time (try 25 min). These wristbands can also count steps and have other health related features. Now that you know when to stand up, what should you do? Walking is best, but if you aren’t able to move away from the desk try some standing calf raises or squats for a couple of minutes (calf raises may be more inconspicuous if you’re the office newb). What if you do get 150 minutes of exercise per week? Unfortunately, the effects of prolonged sitting will still occur.
The evidence is clear. Take a stand! Your promotion may be in your grasp; because, if you do stand up, your productivity will increase (studies say by about 15%). At worst, you’ll be much happier and healthier.
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