Sitting all day at work: can it take years off your life?

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Sitting all day at work – The new smoking?

Sitting all day at work is as bad as it sounds.

Today is pulling a double shift. Not only is it World Health Day but it’s also Walk to Work Day so it’s the perfect time to shed some light on about the health effects of sitting for prolonged periods of time in the workplace.

It’s well documented, in this day and age, that smoking is not good for your health.

But is sitting for hours a day in an office just as bad?

It sounds shocking but the health effects of sitting down in an office for long periods of time may be leading to a number of illnesses. And you may not even know it.

Here’s a breakdown of startling facts about the health effects of sitting for office workers:

Health effects of sitting down on office workers in workplace

The stats are eye opening.

One study even found that those who spend most of their time sitting all day at work has a 112% higher risk of developing diabetes and a 147% higher risk of suffering “cardiovascular events”.

This could be anything from a heart attack to heart disease – both can be fatal.

Studies show that prolonged sitting in the workplace can’t be “cured”, as you might assume, by just increasing exercise outside of the workplace.

Bad news, but, there are some things you can do in the workplace to reduce the chances of negative health effects.

According to this article, by just reducing the amount of time that you spend sitting down, you could have “a significant and positive impact on your future”.

What can you do to counteract the effects of sitting all day at work?

Work at a standing desk

Personally, I don’t know if I could work all day standing at a desk but maybe a combination of standing and sitting?

Like mentioned above, if you can reduce the time you spend sitting in the office by just a few hours every day, you should see an impact.

Get moving with a wobble board or treadmill desk

For those who want to get that heart rate up, a treadmill desk may be the thing.

Also a great alternative to walking outside if you live in a colder climate. Wobble boards are boards with a (usually) ball or wheel on the bottom that allow you to balance and shift weight while standing.

In this article, Maria Popova, of website Brain Pickings (and a wobble board enthusiast) wrote:

“It might sound crazy, but it actually helps you balance your posture much more evenly than just standing on your feet, in which case you inevitably shift your weight to one leg or the other, subtly twisting your spine,”.

Get active with clients

This may not be for every client, but this article highlights a few Wall Street workers who have opted out of the typical lunches with liquor for clients and instead gone for boot camp classes!

Walking or standing meetings

Keep meeting attendees on their toes by ditching chairs for a meeting.

You could try taking the meeting outdoors for a walk around the block. Who wouldn’t want a breath of fresh air after sitting down in an office all day?

If there are many attendees or the weather is cold, you might want to try standing for the duration of the meeting instead.

How do you combat the health effects of sitting in the workplace?

Have you tried a standing deck or a treadmill desk? Let us know by joining the conversation on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Hey there! I’m Alex, marketing specialist at Celpax and I love helping to create workplaces people love. We’re a for-profit helping workplaces improve employee morale with simple tech tools. Let’s talk about  how to avoid sitting all day at work! Find us on Twitter,  Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn.
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