The Effects of Sitting :: Staying Active at Work :: FIT4U Challenge Week 5

Does this sound familiar? You sit all day at work, get in the car where you sit some more, then arrive home only to sit in front of the computer or tv. Sitting has been classified as one of the new cancers of the world. It’s a tough cycle to break because most jobs essentially require us to sit for long periods of time.

Research is finding that this new sedentary lifestyle is contrary to our biological needs and damaging to our well-being. The human body has evolved to be mobile, not sedentary. We sit an average of 9.3 hours a day, which is even more than we spend sleeping. Most scientists believe that anyone sitting more than 6 hours a day is at a heightened risk for many different problems. They say this much sitting may be as bad as smoking a pack of cigarettes every day! Even if you exercise daily, some studies are finding that if you repeatedly sit for long periods of time at work, this habit will take years off your life.

“Sitting is so incredibly prevalent that we don’t even question how much we’re doing it. And because everyone else is doing it, it doesn’t even occur to us that it’s not OK.”
– Nilofer Merchant at TED 2013

So what is this doing to our health? The infographic below touches on some key things that sitting does to our bodies, including lowering good cholesterol, burns fewer calories, and turns off electrical activity in the legs.

As the infographic sums up, sitting for long periods of time isn’t healthy. With all these factors, it could potentially  lead to heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

What can you do?

Quitting you day job so you can stand more isn’t going to fly. But, here are some helpful tips that’ll help you get moving at work:
– Park further away from your office building.
– Take a walking break in between meetings or during meeting breaks.
– Walk before your morning starts—you’ll energize yourself for the day.
– Avoid elevators and escalators—take the stairs instead.
– Designate 10 minutes of your lunch break for a quick walk.
– Ask your co-workers to join you on a before or after work walk.
– Walk to coworkers’ desks to speak to them instead of sending an email.
– Shake off the stress of your day by walking after work.
– Get out of your seat 5 minutes every hour, set an alarm if you have to.
– If you have the option, try to get a standing desk, one that will raise and allow you to work while standing.

We also created this great worksheet which demonstrates several ergonomic stretches you can do at your desk. Download it here.

See our previous FIT4U Fitness Challenges where we challenged our team to drink more water and eat more veggies, reduce their sugar intake, and reduce their meat intake.

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