Numerous recent research articles from multiple sources have found that sedentary lifestyles can actually reduce your lifespan.

A study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise in 2010 said the following; “Specifically…men who reported more than 23 hours (per week) of sedentary activity had a 64% greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who did 11 hours.”

What’s alarming in this study is that most of the men exercised on a routine basis. That means if you have a job which requires you to sit all day, you cannot simply exercise its deleterious effects away.

More evidence-

  1. A study in Canada of 17,000 people found mortality 1.54 times higher among those who spent most of their day sitting.
  2. A study of Australian women revealed that sitting time was a predictor of weight gain. Again, even with exercise they found sitting directly proportional to calories stored as fat.
  3. A study showing “screen time” usage (TV, computer) increased your risk of metabolic syndrome (factors such as increased cholesterol, decreased HDL, increased blood pressure, increased belly fat). Metabolic syndrome leads to cardiovascular disease.
  4. Research revealed those that watch TV 21 hours or more per week and 11 hours or more on a computer were more likely to be obese.
  5. The most conclusive study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine followed 222,500 Australians for 3 years. The results revealed that people who sat for long periods of time were 40% more likely to die from any cause. The subjects risk increased the more hours they were sedentary. The breakdown was the following;
    1. 15% higher for people who sat at least 8 hours
    2. 40% higher for people who sat at least 11 hours or more per day

Dr. Alpa V. Patel, PhD, a leading researcher in this particular field said, “We are continuing to demonstrate time and time again in different populations that there is something real to the association between sitting time and reduced longevity. ”

Technology is certainly to blame. It is giving us fewer reasons to move. Just watch your kids’ reaction when they step outside and are confused by that big shiny ball in the sky we call the sun. “Go outside and play” is something rarely uttered by parents anymore unless a SWAT team is strategically placed on rooftops to watch your kids. As for adults, we can “mail” a letter, execute a bank transaction, order movie tickets, and pick up a meal all while sitting.

The solution, one would think would be to simply exercise more. These studies showed exercise had very little effect on mortality levels. Simple exercises to perform at your desk however, will increase your flexibility and stamina. We were never meant to sit this long on a daily basis as our ancestors can attest. I have included some of these simple exercises in the “latest news” section of our website.

A second solution is to drink more water. We all know how important proper hydration is but did you know you can help heal your back and neck by drinking more? Your discs which are the tiny shock absorber-like spaces between your vertebrae are comprised of mostly water (about 80% at birth). Inactivity and misalignment can dehydrate them over time. By drinking more water, you are bringing more nutrients into the discs while flushing out the toxins. This will also help you to constantly change your position from a seated to a standing position…by having to take trips to the bathroom with greater frequency.

Lastly, my own theory on changing the way we work is that the workstation of the future will be mostly standing. Some of the benefits of standing vs. sitting are less back and neck pain, more calories burned, increased alertness, decreased carpel tunnel syndrome, etc… The more we study the detrimental effects of sitting; I believe society will conform to a healthier, more productive way of working.

For office exercise suggestions, click here.