15 November 11 Chained to Your Desk? It Could be Harming Your Health

The American Cancer Society concluded after a 14-year study that Americans who sit for six or more hours a day increase their chance of early death by 37% than those who sit for less than three hours a day.

“Prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has been shown to have important metabolic consequences, and may influence things like triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin, which are biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases,” says Dr. Alpa Patel, the study's lead researcher.

So what can you do to lessen the chance of early mortality (aside from changing your job to a more active one)? You can find ways to incorporate more movement time in your workday to lessen the minutes you're glued to your desk. Here are some ways to get started:
  • Change the way you get to work - According to a 2005 U.S. Census study, 87.7% of Americans drive to work. Even commuting more actively (walking or biking) one day a week can increase your daily movement total.
  • Take the stairs - Are you conditioned to wait for the elevator at your office? Try taking the stairs on alternate days instead of the elevator - or for alternate trips.
  • Get up and stretch every hour - If you condition yourself to getting up at least once every hour, you'll be less likely to "stick" to your office chair all morning, or all day.
  • Stand when you can - Your body burns about 100 calories a day from just standing. If you know you'll be on a long phone call, try standing next to your desk.
  • Offer to meet coworkers away from your desk - Don't have every team meeting or chat at your place. Get up and meet them, or better yet pick a common ground a little further away so you're both moving.
  • Maximize your lunch break - In the average work day, your lunch "hour" is a golden opportunity to get up and move. Pledge to not eat at your desk more than once a week. Get up and take your lunch for a walk to a nearby park or conference room.
  • Do some sitting exercises - There's no shortage of little exercises you can do while sitting in your chair. They include leg extensions, marching in place, shoulder rolls and sitting heel and toe raises (which are great for reducing the chance of sitting-induced blood clots).
  • Get creative - Find ways to make your job more active - from walking meetings to altering your schedule to allow more gym time. Anything you can do to add minutes of exercise will help you combat 40+ hours of inactivity each week.

Ryan Newhouse

Ryan Newhouse is the Marketing Director for MyNetDiary and writes for a variety of publications. He wants you to check out MyNetDiary on Instagram!

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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