Sitting while working, The Statistics Are Grim
Sitting. Sitting. Sitting. It’s no wonder we have the healthcare crisis that we do in this nation. If we paid better attention to ourselves and our daily routines, what kind of revolution might happen? Our dependent-on-keeping-our-butts-planted culture is not helping the situation.
- The typical American averages 9.3 hr/day of sedentary activity
- Being sedentary 6+ hr/day increases risk of death 40%
- Being sedentary increases risk of various cardiovascular/musculoskeletal diseases and some cancers
“Sitting is Killing You” by Medical Billing and Coding Staff
Our Culture Doesn’t Help
- Drive to and from work? Sitting.
- Have an office Job? Sitting.
- Drive a few miles to the grocery store? Sitting. (Thank goodness we have to walk through the store to get our items… for now)
- Watch TV? Sitting.
Be the Change You Wish to See
Getting your daily intake of strenuous activity is a good thing. But those sessions typically last thirty minutes to an hour for most. Even with daily exercise, staying put for the majority of the day still wrecks a body good. We need to engage our bodies and minds as much as possible through the entire day. Following are three of the most popular alternatives to the regular, old sitting desk.
Standing Room Only
Standing desks are a strong step in the right direction. You’re engaging more of your body in hours-long daily activity. If this is your only option, however, standing all day isn’t exactly good for you either. Standing desks come with:
- Increased physical and mental activity
- Potential increase in concentration and focus
- Risk of Carotid atherosclerosis due to higher load on the circulatory system
- Varicose veins
- Sore legs and feet
- Lower back pain
- Increased fatigue
Krause N., Lynch J.W., Kaplan G.A., Cohen R.D., Salonen R., Salonen J.T. (2000) Standing at work and progression of carotid atherosclerosis. Scand J Work Environ Health, 26(3):227-236
Tüchsen F., Krause N., Hannerz H., Burr H., Kristensen T.S. (2000) Standing at work and varicose veins. Scand J Work Environ Health, 26(5):414-420.
Walking Your Way to Health
Another trendy option is the elusive treadmill desk, prized for its ability to allow the user to casually stride their work day away. While this goes one step further than a standing-only desk in that you can walk while you work, there are some disadvantages. However, the advantages of a treadmill desk may outweigh these disadvantages. It’s a good option to consider. Walking all day comes with:
- Big increase in physical activity. Walk miles per day while you work.
- Cost – Most treadmill desk solutions are relatively costly compared to standing-only and some adjustable desk setups.
- Potential difficulty in concentrating or typing – Unless you walk as smooth as a marching band member, you might find it difficult to type.
The Adjustable Desk: Best of Both Worlds
That leaves us with the holy grail of desk environments: the fully adjustable desk. Adjustable desks allow you to balance out your desk activity time by raising and lowering the desk surface either through a hand crank or push-button electric motors.
Manual cranks will save you some coin over their electric brethren. And you might get a smidgen more of physical activity while cranking the desk up or down.
Ah, the lazy man’s adjustable desk. I kid, I kid. These are great for automated raising and lowering of your desk, especially if you adjust yours multiple times through the day. Some even come with memory presets. Hit a button and your desk adjusts to your desired position.