Considering that you are most likely reading this on a tablet or computer screen, you are most likely also sitting down right now. If you haven’t gotten up in a while, you may want to do so. Research finds that if you don’t get up and move around more often, apparently there’s a greater chance that you will not live as long as those who do. According to several studies, sedentary behaviors like sitting and watching TV may have the potential to decrease your life expectancy, even if you exercise regularly.
According to a study published in the online journal BMJ Open, if you sit for more than three hours a day, your life expectancy is lowered by about two years. This study’s findings are backed up by Australia’s Sax Institute, which says that even with exercise, sitting for several hours a day could cause you to die younger.
Another study tracked 123,000 Americans and found that the death rate for those who spent six or more hours a day sitting was 20% higher than for men who sat for three hours or less. For women, the difference was even scarier at 40%.
I personally hopped up from my chair after reading these statistics and did a lap around the room. As a recently-hired office employee who is new to sitting in a cubicle all day long, I find it particularly hard to find time to get up and walk around during the day. I get plenty of exercise- I’m currently training for a marathon- but these studies are telling me that it may not be enough to make up for the 8 hours a day that I spend on my butt.
So what can I and all of my fellow office workers who have desk jobs do to get more movement during the day? Experts suggest standing up as much as possible, like when you’re talking on the phone. Also, try not to be quite as lazy. Get up and walk to the printer instead of having someone who is already up bring the papers to you. Don’t call a co-worker that you can see from across the room. Getting up and talking to them in person will not only make you more active, but it can also improve communication too.
Companies can help out by allowing time for short walks- five to ten minutes each hour is ideal. Some have even gone as far as bringing in tools like standup desks or the treadmill desk. Yes, you read correctly. There is a such thing as a treadmill desk. Made by LifeSpan, it retails for about $1,999 (it’s on sale for $1,299 on the company’s official website right now). Check it out:
I personally love the idea of being able to stay active while being productive. If my boss decided to allow these in the office, I would definitely try using it throughout the day. But in the meantime, I will just make it a point to take a few laps around the office every hour.
Would you use a treadmill desk in your office? Tell me in the comments!