Sitting all day is dangerous. Unbelievably, people who sit all day are 54% more likely to have a heart attack than people who stand or walk during the day. This is regardless of weight, the amount of exercise they do, or their eating habits. A study was done in the United Kingdom in the fifties and it was found that bus drivers were far more likely to die of a heart attack than the conductors on the same bus were, even if fitness levels, weight and lifestyle were the same. This study was repeated again in 2004 with the same results. Research is telling us that our sitting habit is unhealthy for us. Not only might it be leading to a premature death, but sitting for so long is making us uncomfortable too. Being deskbound for long periods is not a natural state for humans; it misaligns our pelvis, weakens our gluteus and gives us lower back pain. Unfortunately, we cannot quit our jobs to get healthier, but there are changes you can make to ensure that your sitting is not making you unhealthy.
You Do Not Always Have to Sit
Even in the most professional of office environments, you can find excuses to leave your desk and move your body. Do deep knee bends to get to the lower drawers and stretch to reach the higher ones. Instead of having your client shown to your office, meet him in the lobby and take the stairs down. Go to your co-workers office to get an answer to a question instead of emailing. You can also make a habit of standing while you are on the phone and when talking to a colleague. Get out of that desk as often as you can, and you will be healthier for it.
Try Some Desk-Jockey Exercises
There are a number of exercises you can try to help alleviate the dangers of riding a desk. To strengthen your arms and chest, you can sit cross-legged on your chair and then push up with your arms on the chair-arms to raise your body off the chair. To keep your legs in shape, do leg lifts while seated, and for a thinner waist take advantage of a swivel chair to do some spiral waist stretches. You can also do desk push-ups and squats quite easily and discreetly in your office or cubicle. The trick is to keep moving. A study done in 2010 found that when a person reduces his steps by 85% in just a two week period, they can have as much as a 17 % decrease in insulin sensitivity, which is a precursor to diabetes.
Be Ergonomically Correct
Many of the complaints of people who work desk jobs are back pain. Just because you sit all day, doesn?t mean you cannot be hurt, and in actual fact, people with desk jobs experience more back problems than most non-sedentary lines of work. Fortunately, there is a whole industry that revolves around creating comfortable and ergonomically correct furniture to ensure that workers are as pain free as possible. There are ergonomically correct keyboards, chairs, desks and even computers. If you feel your desk job is affecting your health, speak to your employer about having an expert come into evaluate conditions. Even if your boss does not want to foot the entire bill, you may be able to convince him to pay half. It is an investment in your health.
Many people think they are safe from the dangers of a desk job because they exercise regularly, but in this case, exercise makes no difference. The only exercises that can prevent issues caused by sitting too long are the short, simple solutions mentioned above. You can still go to the gym, but you must realize when it comes to desk jobs, it is the small things every day that makes a difference.