Sitting at Work is Killing You: The Truth About Your Desk Job

the dangers of sitting at your desk job.jpg

When you're at work on the grind, it may be the last thing on your mind to think of how your work is affecting your overall heath.

A few hours of overtime here and there is the norm, but it can take over the time you might spend in the gym or doing active hobbies. Your job may even steal your morning away from you as you head to work early to avoid being stopped in traffic instead of being able to go on a jog or hit an early workout.

We'll go out on a limb and bet that you spend most of your day at your desk, eating lunch at your desk, and maybe only stepping away from your desk for quick meetings or coffee breaks. 

For everyone who fall in this category, there is one thing you must understand -- it's killing us. 

We're talking about sitting.

It’s so bad for you that people are calling sitting “the new smoking”. It’s even a specific risk factor that doctors look for when diagnosing disease.

That’s because sitting all day wreaks havoc on your body and has been shown to increase your rate of early death by anywhere from 12-40%. - Source

Sitting 13+ hours daily (not that hard to rack up when you remember that you sit when commuting to and from work, working, eating, and relaxing at home) increases your risk of death by 200% more than those people who sit less than 11 hours per day.

Desk-job workers have 2x the rate of cardiovascular disease than people who have standing jobs. That is something to think about.

The breakdown when you sit down...

"Almost immediately electrical activity to your leg muscles shuts off. Calorie burning drops to just 1-2 per minute, compared to about 4-6 when you’re walking. Enzymes that break down fat drop by 90%, which helps to explain a study that showed sitting makes people fatter. After a couple hours sitting, your good cholesterol drops 20%.
And if you spend most of an entire day sitting, insulin effectiveness drops by 24%, leading to an increased risk of diabetes." - Source

Type 2 diabetes is twice as likely to affect those who have a sedentary work life and lifestyle.

If you take a look at what the National Cancer Institute research tells us, we learn that sitting leads to massive increases in cancer risk – 30% for colon cancer, 54% for lung cancer, and a whopping 66% for uterine cancer.

Naturally, our bodies were not meant for this sedentary lifestyle day in and day out. This new "desk-life" is still new within the last few decades, so we are just now discovering the intense negative effects of sitting for too long.

We've established the horrible side effects of sitting, so what can we do about it?

How to take a stand against sitting...

Sure, most people with respond with "no problem, I'll just wake up earlier and go to the gym before work or right after work. That’ll keep me in shape!”

That's fine and dandy, but it won't combat sitting. Once the damage is done, even exercise can't reverse the effects.

The single most effective thing seems to be summed up the best by associate research scientist at the Columbia University Department of Medicine, Keith Diaz. He says: “For every 30 consecutive minutes of sitting, stand up and move/walk for five minutes at brisk pace to reduce the health risks from sitting.” - Source

Make it a habit to set a timer on your phone and take a brisk walk or move around every 30 minutes. At the least, make sure you stand up and move around for a couple of minutes to get your blood flowing.

If you can, and you should... take it to the next level and invest in a sit-stand desk for your office. Sometimes you can convince your boss to invest in one for you.  Experts say that while standing all day has its own set of health challenges, working toward 2-4 hours of standing work per day is a fantastic goal to get started on.

After a long day of work sitting at your beautiful desk and your commute home, find something to get you moving other than sitting at your home computer or watching TV.  People who sit to watch three or more hours of TV per day are 64% more likely to die from heart disease.

Take a look at the graphs below from DIY Genius

health risks of sitting at work

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