Despite numerous published reports (including ones from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) about the health hazards of sitting for long stretches at a time each day, in front of computer screens with without taking occasional breaks, the practice continues in organizations, small and large alike. If there are no changes to these behaviours, experts predict, healthcare costs will continue to rise.
In his article, for Smithsonianmag.com, titled ‘Five Health Benefits of Standing Desks’ Joseph Stromberg, offers some suggestions that, could help curb this issue, They include:
“Reduced Risk of Obesity
Levine’s research began as an investigation into an age-old health question: why some people gain weight and others don’t. He and colleagues recruited a group of office workers who engaged in little routine exercise, put them all on an identical diet that contained about 1000 more calories than they’d been consuming previously and forbid them from changing their exercise habits. But despite the standardized diet and exercise regimens, some participants gained weight, while others stayed slim.
Lower Long-Term Mortality Risk
Because of the reduced chance of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, a number of studies have found strong correlations between the amount of time a person spends sitting and his or her chance of dying within a given period of time.A 2010 Australian study, for instance, found that for each extra hour participants spent sitting daily, their overall risk of dying during the study period (seven years) increased by 11 percent. A 2012 study found that if the average American reduced his or her sitting time to three hours per day, life expectancy would climb by two years.
Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Scientific evidence that sitting is bad for the cardiovascular system goes all the way back to the 1950s, when British researchers compared rates of heart disease in London bus drivers (who sit) and bus conductors (who stand) and found that the former group experienced far more heart attacks and other problems than the latter.
Since, scientists have found that adults who spend two more hours per day sitting have a 125 percent increased risk of health problems related to cardiovascular disease, including chest pain and heart attacks. Other work has found that men who spend more than five hours per day sitting outside of work and get limited exercise were at twice the risk of heart failure as those who exercise often and sit fewer than two hours daily outside of the office. Even when the researchers controlled for the amount of exercise, excessive sitters were still 34 percent more likely to develop heart failure than those who were standing or moving”.
Too much sitting for long periods is bad for your health and can result in a variety of ailments. And if you happen to be in a job that requires a lot sitting through the day, it does not help. The good news- as attitudes shift, consumer demand emerges, companies will take heed. And for those companies who do not have standing desks, yet, hopefully, they will encourage employees to take more breaks and/or stand after 20 or 30 minutes of sitting. Change always moves slowly.
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