As someone relatively new to the nine-to-five desk job (my work days were previously broken up and much more active) it’s definitely been a transition. And I’m feeling the effects: tight hips, sore back, and I think I may even be losing muscle in my butt!
And, as more and more reports surface detailing the negative effects a desk job has on your health, it’s definitely a concern for myself. I’m trying to stay as active as possible outside of the office’but that may not be enough, according to some research.
A recent article from The Globe and Mail notes that the average person spends 9.3 hours a day sitting. And, “people who sit for six or more hours per day are 40 percent more likely to die within 15 years compared to someone who sits less than three hours a day, even if they exercise.” Those are alarming statistics, especially when you consider that exercise may not combat the health effects of sitting.
And there’s more: experts say that the "pressure put on areas of the body used for sitting or lying down produces up to 50 percent more fat in those parts." An article from the Telegraph reports that even those with a healthy diet and exercise habits are affected by hours of sitting. According to Professor Amit Gefen, from Tel Aviv University, when fat cells are exposed to static stretching (the weight we put on our body tissues), they produce more triglycerides (the major form of fat stored in the body), and at a faster rate.
To fight these effects, experts are recommending that office workers get up and move throughout the day, sit on an exercise ball or stand while working.
One employer is taking that advice a step further (literally) by introducing walking meetings. The New York Times reports that a Minneapolis financial staffing firm has set up four treadmill desks in a conference room so employees can walk and discuss business at the same time. That’s certainly one way of putting employee health care first!
What affect has a desk job had on your body? Would you be able to get your work done while walking on a treadmill?