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Sedentary Office Jobs are Impacting Our Health in a Big Way

By Brian Acton

If you have the typical office job, you’re likely working at a screen and stuck at your desk for most of the day. But all that time spent sitting could be having major impacts on your future health, with the medical community now referring to the effects of a sedentary lifestyle as “sitting disease.” When you’re at the office, an effort to break up your sitting time could make a huge impact on your health, even if you’re just taking a lap around the office. How Sitting Affects Your Health The American Heart Association has linked long periods of inactivity - six to eight hours or more per day - to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems and heart disease in the long term. These risks may be caused, in part, by higher blood pressure and elevated cholesterol resulting from inactivity. Diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes are also risks for the frequently inactive. Sitting incorrectly or for long periods of time can also lead to posture problems, an increased risk of herniated discs, and decreased hip mobility - none of which are fatal, but all of which can affect quality of life. Regular exercise may not even be enough. According to the American Heart Association, people who consistently exercise still have an elevated risk of heart disease and stroke if they spend much of their time sedentary. In short, a half hour of exercise won’t make up for what you do the rest of the day. How Standing and Walking at Work Can Help While further research is needed to determine the best way to fight sitting disease, the initial opinion is that interventions to reduce sedentary time could help. Getting a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week can help. But breaking up those long periods of inactivity can further reduce your amount of daily sedentary time. By scheduling regular reminders to get moving using an app or calendar, you can get a few minutes of exercise every hour or so, reducing the time you’re sitting. You can also get more creative with standing desks or walking meetings. Whatever you do, increasing your activity and decreasing the time spent sitting could help reduce the associated risks. Conclusion Further research is still needed, but it’s apparent that our bodies aren’t built to handle all the sitting required in a modern office job. To fight sitting disease, you may need regular exercise, periodic activity breaks from sitting, and other creative ways to stay active throughout the day. For a longer list of ways to counteract sitting disease, check out our blog post on staying at your desk job. Sources: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/134/13/e262#sec-25 http://www.cbsnews.com/news/even-if-you-exercise-prolonged-sitting-time-is-bad-for-heart-health/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/apps/g/page/national/the-health-hazards-of-sitting/750/
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