Did you know that sitting for too long is dangerous enough to kill a person? Some experts have gone on to compare working a desk job with smoking. This isn’t just fear-mongering, and it has been backed up by research.
Scientists have found a direct link between sitting on a chair for a long time and premature death. This is concerning because most adults in the UK spend about 9.5 hours every day sitting in front of their computer screens. It is difficult to break from this routine because that’s what an office job is all about! However, what’s concerning is that their personal lives also involve sitting in front of the television to watch the news or binge-watch their favourite shows on Netflix.
More and more evidence suggests that sitting on a chair for a long period increases the risk of blood clots. These blood clots originate in the legs and can travel to the lungs and heart, thereby creating a life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism. Here’s a disturbing YouTube video demonstrating exactly how it happens.
Sitting has been linked with type-2 diabetes, cancer, and even death. Here are eight things you can do to break away from your sedentary lifestyle.
1. Use Standing Desks
Height adjustable desks, although slightly more expensive, are definitely worth the extra cost. Many low-cost variants are available in the market for those on a tight budget. Sit-to-stand desks help you stand up comfortably while working. While engaging in regular exercise is the best way to counter the effects of a desk job, simply choosing to stand can be just as beneficial as well. Studies have shown an equal amount of time spent standing can burn over 180 more calories. This means you can burn over 1000 extra calories every week by simply standing next to your desk.
2. Take Regular Breaks
Most people are attracted to their desks and don’t take regular breaks. Employers that encourage this behaviour are in a way, only making things worse for their bottom-line in the long run because all this sitting will result in loss of productivity. Use apps or computer programs to send you timely reminders to take regular breaks on a schedule. These apps should periodically remind employees to correct their posture, regularly stretch every 30 minutes or so, and stand up to move around for a few minutes.
3. Buy Electronic Products Online Such as Pedometers
Pedometers and similar devices can track one’s movement throughout the day. These devices are useful because they give a tangible way of monitoring your progress. Some personal monitoring devices can also monitor your heartbeat, temperature, and other physiological indicators of stress. You can easily buy electronic products online with a click of a button.
4. Improve Your Office Culture
Employers have the all-too-important task of providing a healthy environment for their employees. The idea is to foster an environment that boosts the health and wellbeing of the staff. You can tell if your office needs to readjust its wellness policy by looking at surveys, health care costs, absenteeism, turnover rates, or just by bringing managers and workers together for an open chat. From the perspective of the organisation, the employee’s health and wellbeing should be a priority, for obvious reasons. When you show that you care about their health, their morale will improve automatically and productivity will rise.
5. Exercise Regularly
By now you’ve heard this a million times: exercise and hit the gym!
This statement couldn’t be truer in the context of our sedentary lifestyles. Exercising not just improves our physical health but also helps us keep in shape. Employers can encourage their employees to exercise by building an on-site gym at the office, but if that is not possible, they can offer gym memberships free of cost (or at low prices) to employees. Most tech companies like Microsoft partner up with fitness companies to give their employees a complete range of gym services for free.
6. Take the Stairs Instead of the Elevator
If your office is just a few floors above, it is better to walk up the steps instead. If you have several floors to walk, you can always climb up a few floors and then enter the elevator. As your body gets more used to walking up the stairs, you can slowly increase the number of floors you walk up the stairs. Another neat trick is to park your car on higher floors of the parking lot, and then walking down. The idea is to maximise the number of steps you walk.
7. Walk While You Talk on the Phone
This can prove to be especially beneficial if you speak over the phone a lot in your job. Keep doing this until it becomes a habit. All this new movement could help you express more emotions, allowing you to become a better speaker by walking.
8. Go Outdoors
When you wake up early in the morning, try to cultivate the habit of waking up early in the morning and going outside for a walk. As you inhale the cool, dewy air, your body and mind start to relax. Walking outside early in the morning could lead to more rhythmic, deeper breathing, which could help set the right tones for the rest of the day.