Okay, I hate to sound dramatic, but unfortunately, I’m not exaggerating. Study after study in recent years has shown us what health horrors sitting for long periods of time can do to our bodies. It can cause weight gain, varicose veins, fatigue, disease, and yes, even an earlier death. Of course using an adjustable height desk or standing desk is just one way to combat these problems; but we’ll get back to that in a moment. For now…
The Five Frights of Sitting! (Okay, now I’m being a little dramatic.)
1) We spend 8.5 hours a day in front of a screen. In 2009, Ball State University researchers found that Americans spend almost 9 hours sitting in front of some kind of screen—be it a computer, TV, iPhone, tablet, etc. Another survey conducted around the same time found a similar (and terrifying!) statistic: we spend 153 hours a month watching TV. And that doesn’t include anything watched online or on a smartphone!
2) Only 31 percent of people get the recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity 5 days a week—40 percent don’t get any kind of regular exercise at all. Ultimately all of this leads to about 33 percent of the entire week spent sitting. So what does that mean for you?
3) Sitting makes you fat. Obese people tend to sit 2.5 hours a day more than thin or healthy people. Why? For one, when you’re sitting, you are burning less than 1 calorie per hour. The enzymes that break down fat in your body also decrease by 90 percent when you’re sitting. Yes, this happens as soon as you sit down.
4) Sitting stops the flow of blood. When you sit for long periods of time, the blood flow to your legs and feet slows, which among other health concerns, increases your risk for varicose veins (ew!) and hemorrhoids (EW!)
5) Sitting increases your risk for all kinds of diseases.
– Cardiovascular Disease: People who sit all day at work are 2 times as likely to develop cardiovascular disease than people who alternate between sitting and standing. After just 2 hours of siting, your good cholesterol drops by 20 percent, increasing your risk for heart disease.
– Diabetes: After 24 hours of sitting, your insulin effectiveness drops by 24 percent and your risk of diabetes increases.
– Skin cancer: This might sound strange, but it’s true. Three out of four Americans have an increased risk of skin cancer, partly because of sitting inside so much. A recent study in Medical Hypotheses discovered that people who sit inside (watching TV, surfing the web, working, etc.) are more likely to get skin cancer because they lack the vitamin D that natural sunlight provides. So when they do go outside and get some sun, without enough vitamin D, their bodies are unable to fight off melanoma.
So what can you do if you have a desk job? First, take a deep breath; don’t burst into your boss’s office with your resignation. Now let’s look into an adjustable height desk. An adjustable height desk is the ergonomic workstation of the 21st century.
As you’ve clearly seen above, sitting all day isn’t exactly doing anyone any favors, so many people rush out and buy a standing desk. But being at a standing desk for eight hours straight isn’t ideal either. That’s why an adjustable height desk is the perfect combination. With an adjustable height desk you burn more calories, improve your posture and you are free to move.
How many hours a day do you sit? How does it affect your life? Comment below!