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“The nature of the human body was to be active and moving all day. The body was never designed to be crammed into a chair where all of these cellular mechanisms get switched off”- Dr. Levine
New research is saying that prolonged siting is the new smoking, as far as being detrimental to your health. Dr. Levine, a co-director of the Obesity Initiative for the Mayo Clinic, says there are at least 24 different chronic diseases and conditions associated with excess sitting.
Our bodies are designed for regular movement, but Americans spend an average of 9-10 hours each day sitting. Sitting for too long can cause slower blood flow to organs such as our heart and pancreas, as well as decrease our body’s ability to respond to insulin and promote sluggish digestion, leading to bloating, heartburn and constipation. Sitting can also lead to strained neck and shoulder imbalances, as well as back problems and muscle degeneration.
It should come as no surprise that sitting all day long causes our bodies to burn fewer calories. Standing for an afternoon has been shown to burn 170 more calories than an equal amount of sitting. While this might not seem like a big deal on a day to day basis, over the long haul this difference can have a big effect on your weight management efforts.
Standing desks also appear to benefit overall well-being, improving energy levels and mood. One study found that standing desk can actually lessen feelings of stress and fatigue. Standing desks have also been shown to boost heart rate by about eight beats per minute.
Opt for a standing desk when possible! Keep eye level with the top of your monitor and keep your viewing distance about 15-30 inches away. Try to keep your wrists straight and your elbows close to your body at a 90 degree angle to get the most out of your standing desk!
What Else You Can Do to Stay Healthy At Work
Working a 9-5 job can leave you feeling sluggish and unmotivated to hit the gym after a long day of sitting at your desk. You can make a conscious effort to create healthy habits that will allow for you to feel more energized at the end of your work day. Try these tips to transform your work life habits into healthy ones.
-Control your caffeine: Coffee is the foundation for many 9-5ers, as it helps deal with all of the board meetings, work emails and chatty co-workers. While caffeine can be essential for helping to boost your productivity, too many cups can weaken your adrenal glands and hydration levels, as well as suppress your immune system if you are adding sugar and milk with each cup. Alternate between coffee and herbal teas to balance out your caffeine consumption.
-Workout: You don’t need to hit the gym for a 2 hour long session, simply squeezing in a 20 minute workout during your lunch break would be enough to give you an extra boost of energy. Find a local park or open field where you can grab some co-workers to do a full body circuit, using bodyweight exercises, such as push ups and squats, to burn fat and boost energy.
-Take the stairs: Sitting all day is pretty unnatural for our bodies, so any chance you get to move around you should take. Forego the elevator and take the stairs whenever possible. Also try and stretch your legs every hour by talking a walk around the building, or a doing a few laps in your office hallway.