23 Jul Sitting Right
If your job involves sitting then you may be surprised to know that an estimate of how long you will sit in your lifetime is around 7-8 entire years. Think about that for a moment. That is an awful lot of time spent sitting. As we are influenced by what we do most often, the longer you stay seated the harder it is to do basic activities like standing, walking, running and jumping (1). Also sitting posture (e.g. slouched shoulders) will stay with you even when standing or walking (1). It has also shown that sitting at a computer all day is bad for your eyes so you should also look into eye care to ensure their condition doesn’t deteriorate.
Prolonged sitting also increase the risks of disease and death. Every hour spent watching television (sitting) increases the risk of death from chronic disease by 11% (2). A recent study in WA found that an office desk job can double your risk of bowel cancer (3).
So what can you do?
In short, Stand more! Move more. Swap boardroom to a walking meeting. Take regular breaks from sitting such as standing, walking around the office, and stretching. You should aim to get up from your seat at least every hour. Develop a healthy ritual for your brief time standing. For instance do a stretch such as the neck stretch as shown below.
Drink a glass of water. Walk around the office. In all this time only needs to be a minute or two, but it will definitely help you be healthier. It will also result in better productivity. It can result in less absenteeism. There is no reason not to do this.
If you sit for long periods there is high likelihood that your posture is effected. Your posture is a super important parameter of your overall health and even basic activities of daily living are effected if poor posture is allowed to remain. (4)
(1) Masters, M.,‘Why sitting all day is slowly killing you’, msnbc.com, 26 October 2010. Retrieved 1/12/11 from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39523298/ns/health-mens_health/t/why-your-desk-job-slowly-killing-you/#.TtbIybK4qdA
(2) Dunstan, D., ‘Sitting Nine to Five (And Beyond) : The Perils of Sedentary Lifestyles’, The Conversation, 11 August 2011, Retrieved 1/12/11 from http://theconversation.edu.au/sitting-nine-to-five-and-beyond-the-perils-of-sedentary-lifestyles-857
(3) Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, ‘Office Desk Job Doubles Bowel Cancer Risk’, 12 May 2011. Retrieved 2/12/11 from http://www.waimr.uwa.edu.au/news/2011.05.12_Office-Desk-Job-Doubles-Bowel-Cancer-Risk.html
(4) Spinal Posture in the Sagittal Plane Is Associated With Future Dependence in Activities of Daily Living: A Community-Based Cohort Study of Older Adults in Japan. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America.