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Why You Shouldn't Sit Too Much


The Dangers of Sitting

There has been recent discussion about the dangers of sitting too much. While most people would probably agree, if push came to shove, that sitting is maybe not the best thing to do all day, they would probably also say that sitting is offset by exercise. Interestingly, a recent study found that sitting more than 6+ hours a day increases risk of death up to 40%...even if you exercise! It also found that obese people tend to sit between 2 and 3 hours more than thinner folks and that chewing a piece of gum burns more calories than sitting. Finally, this study concluded that people who sit for work have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease than those who stand for work.

As if that's not enough, an Australian study recently found that a sedentary lifestyle {one characterized by sitting and expending very little energy} contributes to chronic conditions such as heart disease and can increase the risk of colon cancer. They found this by observing various colon cancer patients and their work environments. The final results are as follows:

Subjects who spent 10 or more years in sedentary jobs had twice the risk of colon cancer and a 44% increased risk of rectal cancer, compared with those who never held a sedentary job. The association was independent of recreational physical activity. Occupations requiring heavy physical activity were associated with a 44% reduced risk of colon cancer compared with light-activity work.

How Can We Reduce Our Sitting Time?

Rather than assume that there's not much we can do other than chew a whole lot more gum or get a new job, a more helpful approach might be to look at ways to eliminate excessive sitting. When at home, limit how much time you spend sitting looking at your computer or TV. While work may seem hopeless, there are actually more options than you think. Incorporate hourly walking and stretch breaks, especially if you can coordinate them with phone calls or other tasks not tied to your desk. A great option is an adjustable height desk, which literally raises and lowers the work surface so you can sit or stand to work! You might recall that sitters had twice the rate of cardiovascular disease than standers. Throw in back aches, health concerns, fear of colon cancer, as well as collaborative work form time to time, and there's no reason not to consider such a versatile desk.

Sitting too much can lead to serious health issues. Adjustable height desks allow workers to split their time between sitting and standing.