By now, many of us know the damage we’re doing in sedentary desk jobs. Emerging research shows that sitting for long periods of time contributes to risk of metabolic syndrome, heart attack and stroke risk and overall death risk, among others. Those who sit a great deal also have lower life expectancies, larger bottoms and slower metabolisms.
“Prolonged sitting has been shown to disrupt metabolic function resulting in increased plasma triglyceride levels, decreased levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and decreased insulin sensitivity,” Dr. Hidde van der Ploeg, a senior research fellow at the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health in Australia, told TIME’s Healthland.
Van der Ploeg and colleagues found that sitting for 11 or more hours per day increased risk of death by 40 percent, regardless of other activity levels.
But given the nature of our work environments, there is often very little that can be done — even Team Healthy Living must sit for most of the 8 to 10 hours we work in the office each day, and we study this stuff. Unfortunately, research shows that extra-curricular trips to the gym — running the mornings before work or hitting up a post-office spin class – can’t undo the effects of a day spent on one’s behind.
That means the only available option is to remake our work environments. How can you avoid the dreaded effects of the insidious office sit-in?
First of all, it’s important to note that standing is no panacea. As Men’s Health reported:
Prolonged standing can lead to the development of musculoskeletal disorders, especially in the legs, knees and lower back. While you can stand for as long as it feels comfortable, most experts recommend a 50:50 sit-stand ration.
With that in mind, here are a few strategies to help incorporate more activity during the work day:
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