Ever heard that sitting is no different from smoking? Well, people who spend most of their time working on their feet might differ. Our bodies are made to move. Basing on human evolution process, humans used to spend most of their time moving which increased their evolution process. Those that did not move often such as in search for food found it hard to survive. Similarly, during the agrarian revolution, people spend most of their time on movement as they moved from one task to the next. Industrial revolution then followed which demanded a lot of movement in industries and later high technology which has made movement minimal for humans. Life for humans is made useful by performing activities. Without any activity it makes our lives meaningless.
Contemporarily, we live in a world of creativity which enables development of new ideas and this is majorly achieved when sitting. The current workplace has provided much comfy environment whereby employees spend most of their time sitting. Average working hours is eight hours per day. This means that employees spend close to eight hours sitting and especially in developed countries. While sitting, they have little movements and hence making employees feel drowsy, tired and might easily lead to injuries. However, making use of natural ways of movement during working hours can be fundamental to evading negative effects associated to sitting for many hours (Hamilton, Hamilton, & Zderic, 2007).
Our bodies are made of tissues which require movement for them to function properly. Moving and standing are proven biological triggers which keep our bodies healthy. Office life is associated with increased sedentary life which is hazardous to our bodies. Our health ends getting affected without regard of how much we exercise or eat. Longer sitting time is associated with elevated risks of cardiovascular disease mortality and other related health complications such as obesity (Hamilton, Hamilton, & Zderic, 2007). Spending long hours sitting without a break triggers symptoms of insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, obesity, high triglycerides and even cancer. Office workers need to spend more time walking and standing so as to offset the production of lipo-protein lipase. This is the enzyme tasked with the role of breaking fats in our blood and it drops significantly if the body does not move for long (Stephens, Granados, Zderic, Hamilton, & Braun, 2011).
In addition to these biological causes, workers feel physical discomforts as they proceed with their work. Due to the strictness and nature of the job, they have to persevere until their working hours are over so as to get a long break. However, the damage has already been done even if they go for work outs. Workouts can make them recuperate for a while but some effects of prolonged sitting would still remain. A study conducted by Healy et al. (2013) provides a vivid description of the relationship between decreasing productivity, future pain and increasing discomfort. Furthermore, these effects cannot be alleviated by making use of an ergonomically supportive work chair (Katzmarzyk, Church, Craig, & Bouchard, 2009).
Due to the effects associated with sitting down for prolonged time, the alternative that comes to people’s mind is to stand. Conversely, standing for prolonged period is associated with its own risks and hence not a solution to prolonged sitting. It results into lower back pain, venous pooling, lower extremity fatigue and discomfort and lower extremity pooling as well as whole body lethargy. However, Ergonomyx’s research provides a great solution which involved repeated sitting, standing and moving (McLean, Tingley, Scott, & Rickards, 2001).
Command your Workday: Sit. Stand. Move.
Hamilton, M. T., Hamilton, D. G., & Zderic, T. W. (2007). Role of Low Energy Expenditure and Sitting in Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease. Diabetes, 56(11), 2655-2667. doi:10.2337/db07-0882
Katzmarzyk, P. T., Church, T. S., Craig, C. L., & Bouchard, C. (2009). Faculty of 1000 evaluation for Sitting time and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. F1000 - Post-publication peer review of the biomedical literature, 998-1005. doi:10.3410/f.1160389.622085
McLean, L., Tingley, M., Scott, R., & Rickards, J. (2001). Computer terminal work and the benefit of microbreaks. Applied Ergonomics, 32(3), 225-237. doi:10.1016/s0003-6870(00)00071-5
Stephens, B. R., Granados, K., Zderic, T. W., Hamilton, M. T., & Braun, B. (2011). Effects of 1 day of inactivity on insulin action in healthy men and women: interaction with energy intake. Metabolism, 60(7), 941-949. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2010.08.014