Why Your Office Chair Is Killing You - The Dangers Of Sitting

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Why Your Office Chair Is Killing You – The Dangers Of Sitting

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Click play below to hear our lively interview with author Sandor Katz on fermentation.
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I don’t know about you but I’ve made a career out of sitting in a chair. Sure I’ve had all kinds of jobs and a few of them have been jobs where I’ve stood up. I once did security at a huge high rise building where I had to stand hours on end each day. I also used to do construction where I’d spend the majority of the day standing or digging holes.

But for the most part, I’ve had computer jobs and office jobs where I’d be slumped over a keyboard and monitor all day. I’m sure I’ve incurred some damage to my body as a result of sitting all those years.

I don’t think we realize just how much time we spend each day actually sitting.

Take a second and think about how much time each day, you sit in a chair. Below is just a quick estimate or average calculation of the amount of time people might spend sitting.

  • Eating breakfast (20 minutes)
  • Eating lunch (45 minutes)
  • Eating dinner (45 minutes)
  • Driving your car every day (1 hour 30 minutes)
  • Sitting at work (6 hours)
  • Sitting on the couch at home (1 hour 30 minutes)
  • Flying in a plane
  • Taking a train
  • Sleeping (8 hours)

I know sleeping is not the same as standing from a physiological level but it’s still inactivity. If you count sleeping you’re looking at 1,130 minutes each day of inactivity. That means you’re sitting for about 18.8 hours every day. It’s a reality in our modern world but this isn’t normal. It’s definitely not healthy. We were not designed to sit so long every day.

It shocked me when I realized what the health ramifications were of sitting for so long every day. Was my office chair killing me? But how could this be? How could something so seemingly inert be so detrimental to my health?

It’s often the little things, the small things which cause the greatest harm. It’s the little habits that we do day in and day out that over time cause ill health. Do something every day for 30 years (I don’t care how “bad” it is) and there’s no doubt it’s going to have a deleterious affect on your body and life.

Imagine taking off in a boat to a continent a thousand miles a way and you’re 1 degree off. That 1 degree isn’t going to mean much on a daily basis but at the end of your journey you’ll end up in a far off land you never intended going to. It’s the same with health and just about everything. It’s the small things that have the greatest impact in either direction.

Think about it, how innocuous is it to simply sit in a chair? Over time, turns out it can be deadly. In a study published last year in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, people who sit for prolonged periods of the day are 54% more likely to die of heart attacks. The study said that even people who exercised regularly still were affected by sitting for long periods of time on a cardiovascular level.

I always take studies with a grain of salt but still this is something that you should start thinking about.

In a different but related study, the American Cancer Society said that women who sit more than six hours a day (outside of work) were 34% more likely to die over the 13 year period compared to women who sat less than 3 hours. Men were about 18% more likely to die even regardless of their exercise habits.

Some people sit and STILL don’t exercise. When you bring that to the table…

Women and men who both sat more and were less physically active were 94 percent and 48 percent more likely to die during the study period, respectively, compared with those who reported sitting the least and being most active.
See Study

Let’s put it another way, women have a 94% higher mortality rate if you sit all day than women who do not. 90 freakin 4 percent. For men it’s 48%.

Whether you trust studies or not, you have to agree, sitting in chairs is just not natural. Our early ancestors didn’t sit at a computer for 8 hours a day without doing any exercise at all. God didn’t design us like that.

Why Is Sitting So Bad For You?

  • Your back is slouched
  • Your putting pressure and stress on your back and arms
  • Your breath gets more shallow
  • Your ergonomic posture is becoming weakened
  • You’re being bombarded with electro magnetic radiation
  • Staring at a screen is bad for your eyes
  • Your brain isn’t functioning normally
  • Your blood pressure changes
  • Your blood sugar is adversely affected

Researchers have noticed that when you sit for a couple of hours there’s quite a significant reduction in lipoprotein lipase which is an enzyme that helps to regulate and break down lipase (fat) in your blood stream. The reduction in LPL allows triglycerides to build up and lowers LDL which is good cholesterol in the blood. As a result you can look forward to a long relationship with hypertension, strokes, heart attacks and angina. Doesn’t that sound fun?

It appears as though the culprit with most people is this lowering of the lipoprotein enzyme throughout sustained portions of the day, day in and day out. Going to the gym and lifting heavy weights or going for a run isn’t going to compensate for this sustained lowering of that enzyme.

So What Can We Do About It?

According to a study, getting up, moving around and simply standing a couple times per hour lowered blood sugars in participants. Personally I have a rebounder next to my work station here in my home studio. I jump on it a couple times an hour for a few minutes at a time.

But figure out what you need to do, even if it is to stretch or stand. Do so as often as you can. Just recognize and be aware that sitting is not what we’re made to do, especially for long periods of time in front of a computer. Do whatever you have to do to mitigate that.

You can also get an exercise ball chair which helps to strengthen your core muscles along with your entire back because it helps balance your upper body by using secondary stabilizing muscles to keep your posture in good alignment. The added benefit to these ball chairs is that you can bounce on them which is great for your lymphatic system.

The other thing you can do is to get a stand up desk which will allow you to stand as your’re working. The other great thing about these desks is that you can put an inexpensive treadmill below it and walk at 1 mile per hour as you work. This is the most ideal situation. You could also consider purchasing a TrekDesk which is another great option.

Many times during the day you’ll find yourself on the phone at your work station. Take this moment and stand up while talking. This will help you move your legs, feet and arms. Plus you’ll help to increase your blood circulation. And more importantly it will help to increase the enzyme lipoprotein lipase which will help dissolve fats in your blood stream decreasing your risk of a heart attack.

Get Up Stand Up!

Now it’s time to start making some practical changes to how you do your daily life. Sitting is dangerous especially when you do so for long periods of time every single day. Remember it’s not how much or how often you exercise on a weekly basis, it’s how long each day you spend sitting.

So get up as often as you can or better yet buy a stand up desk with a treadmill so you can walk and work at the same time.

Checkout this info graphic and feel free to share…

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