That comfy office job could be costing you your health.
Throughout modern history, people have migrated to towns and cities in search of better employment, and it gave rise to the prestige of office jobs. After all, you weren’t toiling the land like your forefathers. You were now sitting in an office, toiling your brain but earning a larger income!
A larger disposable income invariably meant a better standard of living. But the tie to a career and a desk-job has insidiously bound us to the very chair we sit on. And a better life ironically made worse by the slow creep of literally sitting for too long.
Think about it for a moment. You are at your desk, concentrating on your task or project at hand. You have a deadline, you can’t go for lunch. So you nibble on something to keep you going, eating when you have the time (by then you are either famished or rushed or both, so eating a meal is dispensed of quickly). This develops into a habit and before you know it, it has become the norm and the onset of a thickening waistline.
Then there are other afflictions such as circulation problems, swollen feet, poor posture leading to back aches and muscular strain. There are numerous reports and studies readily available on the internet, from medical and health experts around the world, about the hazards of sitting at your desk all day. And the truth is far worse and deadlier than you might have thought.
Here’s what happens when you sit down.
Within minutes of sitting: your calorie burning rate drops to one calorie per minute as compared to burning three times as much calories from simply walking. The enzymes in your body that help break down fat plummet, followed by a decline in good cholesterol efficiency.
By the end of the day, your insulin effectiveness is diminished opening up the risk of diabetes.
Within five days of sitting at your desk for long periods: your muscles will stop taking in (good) fat and your blood sugar levels go up. That translates into weight gain and an accumulation of the dangers from each time you sit down. (Remember the poor eating habits too? Here’s where that comes in.)
Within two weeks: you could find simple tasks such as walking or climbing stairs become more laboured. Along with the weight gain, your muscles weaken from disuse and your body’s oxygen consumption declines.
After a year of sitting for more than six hours a day: your body will experience more subtle changes. For example, visible weight gain (obesity) and high cholesterol, and women can actually lose bone mass. These could increase the risk of more serious medical conditions such as heart disease and prostate and breast cancer.
Psychology of sitting: people who sit at their desks for long periods of time not only open themselves to the physiological dangers, but mental ones as well. Sedentary workers often display signs of psychological distress, depression and reduced well-being (saps motivation to move, compounding the physical side of the problem).
The cost of sitting for long periods leads to higher mortality. And when you are counting up all those sitting hours, remember to include the hours you spend sitting in front of the telly, computer, the years you spent sitting a desk in school… It is not about exercising more. It is literally about sitting less. Take a stand for life.