A new study showed that people who have office jobs spend too much time sitting in their chairs and not enough stretching their limbs. Scientists say that this is almost as unhealthy as smoking or regularly eating foods that are rich in trans fats.
Statistically speaking, the average office worker spends about ten (10) hours a day sitting down at work – making calls, writing emails, writing reports, eating lunch – only to go sit down in their cars and get home to sit some more in front of the TV or in front of their personal computer – watching their favorite shows, or surfing the web.
It’s an unfortunate consequence of a modern job as medical research recently showed that spending too much time sitting in a chair can lead to serious health issues such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.
Some of the other health problems that people who work in offices may encounter are poor circulation, bad posture, spine problems, sleep apnea, digestive issues, migraines, depression and blood clots.
As a way of combating the negative effects that prolonged sitting has, researches have suggested standing up in front of the desk for at least two (2) hours a day.
In a statement published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, experts at Active Working, an international group with the goal of reducing excessive sitting, and Public Health England urged office workers to start by spending two (2) hours on their feet each day, then try to gradually expand it to four (4) hours each day.
They warn that simply exercising at the gym after work may not be enough to combat the negative effects of spending extended periods of time sitting in a chair.
Gavin Bradley, director of Active Working, gave a statement admitting that the habit may not be easy to break: “Our whole culture invites you to take a seat. We say, ‘Are you comfortable? Please take a seat.’ So we know we have a huge job in front of us”.
He goes on to say that which activities you do during your standing hours is not important and that they can easily be found. He gives himself as an example – he stands while talking on the phone. But he also suggests trying to walk or pace around the office, and holding standing meetings, taking the stairs instead of the elevator. The general idea is to perform what experts call “light-intensity activities”.
Since taking on the project, Bradley has programmed his standing table to remind him to change his posture once every 20 or 30 minutes. He explains that mixing it up is the key to changing the habit, and informs that our metabolism slows down 90 percent (90%) after only 30 minutes of sitting, the muscles in our lower bodies get turned off, and good cholesterol starts dropping by 20 percent (20%) after two (2) hours of sitting.
He stresses that just getting up for five (5) minutes will get our bodies working again and diminish the risk of developing health issues.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also agrees things need to change, as it estimates that 95 percent (95%) of the adult population of the world doesn’t meet the required minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
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