Okay so this doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone, however for those working people out there, stuck in offices, do you ever have a fear that you’ll be sitting there, at your desk, for the rest of your life?? I’ve had several cases of some SERIOUS anxiety lately, replaying this horrifying image in my head of growing substantially (in width) and slowly but surely becoming incapable of participating in any exercise. Where is this crazy idea coming from? Well, I just recently read over an older article from Runner’s World (I believe it was the August edition) and the article was titled “Is Sitting the New Smoking?” Basically this article talks about the fact that just as cigarettes can lead to disease, well so can sitting! Great. I find myself sitting 8 hours straight a day, hellllooo disease, helllloo early death! Now, I CERTAINLY don’t sit by choice. I mean if I could work at my desk, while walking on a treadmill that would be glorious! But unfortunately, I’m no super amazing CEO of a large corporation, and therefore I can’t make my own rules or at least for now, be that person with a treadmill as a chair…
The article spat out a few surprising stats that really got my head spinning. For one, it explained that even if you’re able to fit in 60 mins of cardio a day, you are still at risk. WAIT, you mean, even forcing myself to get up at the crack of dawn before work, to sweat out everything and anything left in me, I’m still at risk for disease and an unhealthy lifestyle?? No, this can’t be true. I couldn’t believe it! I mean, I consider myself a highly active person, and for those who don’t know me this is true not only while I exercise, but really in any situation. I’m constantly going, always needing to do something; my mom and her boyfriend even refer to me as the “Tasmanian devil”! Unfortunately, I can’t exactly be moving around 24/7 at work, unless of course I wanted to be fired. So, it’s quite hard for me to have gone from being over-the-top hyperactive, to being extremely sedentary. To be honest, the only moving around I do at work is when I go on my 30 second walk to the bathroom every half hour because I constantly have to pee! (whoops, TMI…not sorry about it, I like my water and coffee!)
Well, thankfully the article did warn me that I’m not alone. The average working American sits something like 64 hours per week and only 28 hours standing!! How insane is that?? People are actually sitting MORE than they walk around in a day. Another study showed that “3,757 women found that for every two hours they sat in a given work day, their risk for developing diabetes went up 7%, which means their risk is 56% higher on days they sit for 8 hours”. A similar stat was proven for men.
Honestly, every new statistic they threw my way was like taking a bullet to the head. I felt myself getting dizzier, quickly realizing that I was suddenly turning into the stereotypical “working American”.
As I mentioned above, terrifying images began running through my head as I instantly began re-assessing my current job. Sure, it could be as easy as quitting my job and investing 100% of my time into being active and living a fit lifestyle, except for the MINOR fact that I would be broke. Yes, there are other jobs out there that involve a more active lifestyle, but it’s quite hard to consider something like that when your parents have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in your college education for a major that applied to your current job. Not to mention, a really great job, with an exceptional reputation and a huge amount of opportunity for success. It’s just not that easy to drop everything like that after reading just one article on how sitting can be the new cause of disease and early death. So, what do I do now?
Well in the meantime, the article does give some tips on how you can fix some of the small things. Obviously, you’re still going to be sitting for the majority of the time, otherwise, how would you ever be able to get work done?!? But, the article does offer the following advice and tips for those who are now just as terrified as me.
-Check out these new spins on your classic desk chair provided by Runner’s World! Offices in Nike, MTV, Disney, Intel, Google, Groupon, and Harvard University have actually incorporated active desks!
-If you’re not already getting in at least 30 mins to an hour of exercise a day, start NOW!
-Get up and stretch at work. Find somewhere private if you’re embarrassed. But there’s simple stretches you can do to stretch your back, legs, and glutes.
-Go for a walk outside, around the building after lunch
-Sit up straight, suck your core in so that you’re utilizing and strengthening it
-Every half hour, go walk for a few minutes. It could be just walking to the bathroom or walking up and down the stairs. Just do it!
-Eat well! A good diet is only going to help the situation & prevent against weight gain!
-If applicable, heighten your monitor with a shoe box or some type of stand so that you can stand while working at your desk.
-When you get home try and plan on watching TV, try avoiding the couch and do some foam rolling, stretching, yoga, or core on the floor!
There are certainly other tips out there and make sure to spread the word at your office! Best of luck and if you have the option, try and find the entire Runner’s World article!