Staying active is so imperative to overall health, so much so that many healthy living spaces and medical establishments continually vocalize how vital it is. For this reason, it isn’t surprising that more data is being released regarding how having a desk job and living a mostly sedentary lifestyle can be catastrophic for your waistline and your health.
Those who typically have less risk factors for serious health conditions such as heart disease tend to walk at least seven miles per day or spend upwards of seven hours on their feet. The correlation here is that how you use and move your body directly affects the health factors within.
Dr. William Tigbe, from the Warwick Medical School, led research regarding how bad excessive sitting is for our waistline, and subsequently, our health. For people who have desk jobs, their waists are typically bigger and their risk for heart disease is also increased.
The research looked at over 100 postal workers who were given activity monitors. Half of the workers worked in the office while the other half delivered the mail. There were huge differences between the two groups that were found. Firstly, the office workers had a bigger average waist circumference. Their risk for cardiovascular disease was also 2.2% higher than those who were constantly walking throughout the duration of their shift.
With each hour of sitting – up to around five hours – the bad cholesterol – also known as LDL – increased. The good cholesterol – (HDL) – decreased. Most shifts are anywhere from 6 to 8 hours so this is definitely an issue to one’s health.
“Longer time spent in sedentary posture is significantly associated with larger waist circumference, higher triglycerides – fat in the blood – and lower HDL cholesterol, all adding up to a worse risk of heart disease,” Tigbe says. “The levels associated with zero risk factors were walking more than 15,000 steps per day, which is equivalent to walking seven to eight miles, or spending seven hours per day upright. Our findings could be used as the basis of new public health targets for sitting, lying, standing and stepping to avoid metabolic risks.”
Increasing Physical Activity
There is an irrefutable link to health and physical activity. This has long been discussed, tested and confirmed in the scientific and medical community. Scientists explain that our biological evolutionary purpose did not account for our bodies being stagnant and sitting down for copious amounts of time each day. The hunters and gatherers spent a good portion of the day on their feet and we’re probably more biologically inclined to do that than we are – with us being largely inactive as we type away at a keyboard for hours and hours.
This is why being active despite having a sedentary job is so crucial. Those who have desk jobs really need to be mindful of incorporating enough standing and walking into their day despite being tied to their desk for their work.
There are a couple of ways to incorporate additional steps or upright movement. Get a headset and take some of your calls standing at your desk if you can. Make a commitment to use the stairs when you are coming to and from work. Do a full body stretch and a few squats every time you get up to go to the bathroom. The importance of how even the little things can increase your physical activity thus positively affecting your health cannot be overstated.