Is sitting the new smoking? The detriments of a desk job…

June 23 2015

Sitting is the new smoking, according to recent research on workplace health. It sounds overdramatic, but sitting at a desk for up to 8 hours a day may be sending us to an early grave.

Health problems such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and back and muscle pain are all symptoms of this workplace epidemic.

Here are some quick facts:

- As soon as you sit, electrical activity in the leg muscles shuts off
- Calorie burning drops to 1 per minute
- Enzymes that help break down fat drop to 90%
- After two hours good cholesterol drops 20%

With most people required to sit for large periods of the day for work, it’s time to find a solution. Just like Google, Twitter and Microsoft, many big corporates and smaller businesses are making the switch to sit-to-stand desks. Almost immediately, you’ll see results including increased energy, improved posture, and a spike in alertness – instead of reaching for a quick pick-me-up snack, simply stand to shake the 3pm slump!

An added bonus is an increase in daily calories burned, in turn boosting your metabolism. When standing, your heart works 10 beats higher per minute, burning 50 calories more than sitting, all while improving circulation.

While sit-to-stand desks are gaining popularity, their cost can prohibit some small businesses from making the switch and completely overhauling all of their employee’s workspaces. If you’re a desk dweller, there are easy ways to break up your day of sitting to improve your health in the long term.

- Aim for a balance between sitting, standing and moving
- Sit when your computer is needed, try and take phone calls standing up, even walk to the desk of a nearby colleague instead of emailing
-  Aim to stand up and stretch once an hour, and walk around for two minutes
- Ditch the desk (within reason!) and stretch your legs, for the greater good of your health.