Overcoming The Sitting Epidemic
Right now, the entire industrialized world is experiencing a sitting epidemic. The modern American lifestyle is dramatically enhanced by the use of modern technologies like laptops, tablets and cell phones. Working conditions for Americans have changed a lot over the years, too. For many years, jobs in the US centered around production and labor, but now, more often the workplace is an office building or any surface on which you can sit a computer. Statistics show that 54% of people spend the majority of their work day using a computer or other type of online device. This doesn’t even take into account the number of people who are seated for the majority of the day in meetings, on phone calls and doing other office tasks. Combine these facts with the number of hours children and young people sit at school, while generally spending more than three hours per day gaming, and it is clear to see that no matter the age or demographic, Americans are facing an absolute sitting epidemic!
How Bad is Sitting All Day?
According to The Better Health Channel, sitting too much is as bad for your overall general health as being a full time cigarette smoker! Sitting or lying in one position for too long on a regular basis can cause all types of chronic health conditions including: weight gain, depression, slowed metabolism, neck and joint stiffness, back pain, heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers. Too much sitting will hurt your body’s circulation and can even lead to the formation of blood clots.
How to Beat the Sitting Epidemic
To overcome the sitting epidemic you have to add more activity into your lifestyle. This isn’t about a whole new routine, but rather, adding in some pieces that you can make habits that will make a huge long term difference in your health. You can try adding in a morning or evening walk, even take a friend for encouragement and company. Take up a lower impact sport, such as cycling, disc golf or swimming. Make it a habit to get off of your usual bus route one stop early and walk the rest of the way.
Sometimes it is harder to get out of sitting for prolonged periods when you are in a work, or especially office environment. At work, to add in a little bit of activity, you can try:
- Parking further from the door.
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Standing up while taking phone calls.
- Offer to grab the coffee or make the copies if it means a walk down the hall or to the cafeteria.
- Even if you can’t leave your desk try to shift positions occasionally and stand for a few minutes every twenty minutes or so if at all possible.
Standing Work Stations
Standing work stations, sometimes called standing desks are really popular in offices these days. These kinds of desks and workstations do make a difference and help solve the problem of having a sedentary job. Not only do standing work stations decrease health problems associated with sitting all day, but they have also been shown in studies to help employees be more productive and stay in a better mood. If you have an option of choosing a standing desk or workstation, you should definitely opt for one!