Last year I wrote about how sitting for more than 6 hours/day would give you a 45% greater chance of dying 15 years earlier. This statistic came from a study in the Obesity, A Medical Journal, and I encourage you all to get active, especially if your job requires you to sit.
The studies keep coming and conclude that chairs indeed are killing us…literally. We work in them, shop in them, eat in them and drive in them. Americans sit for most of their waking day, 13 hours. This grim conclusion may surprise you, 18 years of 16 studies covering 800,000 people; the results cannot be avoided. Those that sat for more than 4 hours a day had a 46% increase in deaths from ANY cause than compared to people who sat just 2 hours a day. Some of the studies even revealed that those who sat half the day doubled their risk of diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Why?
Sitting for long periods is bad because the human body was not designed to be idle, let alone in a sitting position. The human frame, our spine, was designed to be on all fours or upright. Lack of movement slows down our metabolism, reducing the amount of food that is converted to energy and thus promoting fat accumulation, obesity and the litany of ills – heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and more – that come with being overweight.
So what do we do? Well for starters, we are not prisoners of this environment. We can break free! And I am also not saying that we need to dispense our technology and live like the Amish, but we DO need to figure out ways to keep moving throughout the day. Corporations that employ desk positions have instructed their employees to take advantage of standing desks, treadmill desks and walking meetings. Those that have participated in this healthier work environment reported having lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, feeling less stress and having a slimmer appearance. Hormones were also in normal ranges and the study even reveled a 10% improvement ion their cognitive test.
So get up and move around more during your day. Park further away, take the stairs, walk to the bank, walk to your conference meeting. We live amid a sea of killer chairs: adjustable, swivel, reclining, chaise lounge, sofa, car, plane, train, dining and the bar. The good news is you can chose not to use them. So get out of your chairs and start moving today!