Did your mother ever tell you just to sit still and behave? Well, it seems that she had it all wrong because sitting just isn't good for us. As a matter of fact, our sedentary lifestyle is killing us! That is the conclusion of several highly respected medical institutes and government agencies. The evidence is so compelling that large corporations and government agencies have begun taking drastic changes to the office place to combat employee health risks, higher health care costs, and even possible litigation.
How did this all come about? Since 1950, sedentary jobs have increased 83% while physically active jobs currently comprise just 25% of our workforce. Laptops, tablets, Blackberries, and iPads have blurred the line between being “in the office” and “being at home”. Accordingly, Americans now work an average 47 hours a week. That’s 164 more hours a year than we worked 20 years ago.
• High Blood Pressure – 60% more likely. “Individuals who presented with a sedentary lifestyle related to lack of motivation were significantly younger," meaning that this type of condition is typically attributed to senior citizens in nursing homes. National Institute of Health.
• Higher Blood Sugar – "We know that when you sit, you increase your insulin resistance," Dr. Michael Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic (CBS News © 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.) "What that means is you don't take the sugar that's in your blood and move it into your cells as well."
• Increased Cholesterol Levels – During the last decade, numerous epidemiological studies have shown that indicators of physical inactivity such as TV viewing, driving in a car, and sitting are strongly related to the risk of developing dyslipidemia.
• Heart disease – 125% increased cardiovascular disease including angina and heart attack.
• Gastro and Colon cancer – "Participants who spent 10 or more years in sedentary work had almost twice the risk of distal colon cancer and nearly 1.5 times the risk of rectal cancer compared with participants who never held a sedentary occupation." According to an article published in the American Journal of Epidemiology by Terry Boyle; Lin Fritschi; Jane Heyworth; Fiona Bull.
Comparing adults who spent less than two hours a day watching “the screen” to those who spend Four plus hours a day in front of the screen, one study concluded that the four plus group was 50% more likely to die from any medical cause and 125% increased cardiovascular disease including angina and heart attack.
While that may send you to the Want Ads looking for mail carrier or messenger cyclist job listings, there are many hi-tech and low-tech solutions to the problem. These solutions run the gamut from the most fundamental and inexpensive to the “spare no expense”, top-of-the-line office products. We’ll start at the high end and work our way down.
• Bike Desks – Mfg: LifeSpanFitness. The Bike Desk. Current Price $1,699
• Treadmill Desks – Mfg: TrekDesk. The Treadmill Desk. Price $499
• Standing Desks – Mfg: Stand Steady. The Stand and Work Desk Converter. Price $149
• Low-Cost Exercise Devices – Mfg: Stamina. Folding Cycle. Price $31
While all of those products shown above are splendid at improving our sedentary lives, it is imperative to remember two simple facts:
• They only work if you use them regularly.
• You can always just get up and walk briskly for ten minutes every two hours.
According to Dr. Levine, good habits can replace bad habits. Most people will get hooked on walking and working within a couple of weeks. Dr. Michael Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic says to start trying to cut your sitting time by 15 to 20 minutes a day. Do that while you gradually increase your “deskercise” habit. Once it becomes a habit, you’ll feel the difference.
Conclusion: We have evolved from the beings our parents were, and they too changed from the beings their parents were. But has our evolution come at the expense of our health? We have a choice: adapt and change, or we will become the first generation to live shorter lives than its parents. Worth Ave. Group wants you to thrive in our technologically demanding work and school environment. Maybe it’s time for us to wear out more shoe rubber than the seats of our pants.