It used to be the belief that you went to work, sat at your desk, put your head down, and did you work. That was the status quo. Everyone did it. Once the clock ticked over to quitting time, you rose from your cubicle and left the building, only to go home and sit some more. For many Americans, this was part of the achievement of the American dream. This behavior got you the house with the white picket fence, the kids, the dog, and more often than not, enough money to make ends meet.
That picture was what everyone strived for. We all wanted a “cushy” office job and did what we had to do to make that happen. Whether it be a college education or simply working our way up the food chain, we all wanted a desk with a semi-comfortable chair from which we could complete our tasks and collect a paycheck. We didn’t want to sling burgers or bag groceries as we felt those jobs, performing menial tasks weren’t the desired achievement. Positions in construction and nursing were less favorable than an office position for many people. Little did we know, those jobs lead to a healthier lifestyle than the office jobs we all yearned for.
The Awful Truth
You see, people who do manual labor or are on their feet for long periods of the day are healthier than those people who work behind a desk. As more and more statistics emerge about the dangers of “sitting disease”, we’re forced to take a look at the lives we lead from a task chair. A shocking number of hours per day, 7.7 to be exact are spent sitting. Nearly 70% of our waking hours are spent in a seated position, thus leading to an unfortunately sedentary lifestyle. Even if you’re spending an hour a day in the gym, the impact of sitting is endangering your life. Women who work in a seated position for eight hours a day are far more likely to die than those who are only seated for three hours per day.
It’s been shown that exercise cannot combat the effects of sitting all day long at your job. Prolonged sitting can lead to all sorts of health issues as well as impacting your body’s ability to properly metabolize your meals. Not only does sitting for a long period of time negatively affect your health, but it can also reduce your productivity levels. However, what can the average employee do if their job requires being behind a desk?
It is recommended that employees who are required to be at a desk take small, but frequent breaks to stretch their legs. Short bursts of standing can increase your muscle strength as well as assist your body in burning more calories than remaining seated all day. Another possible remedy for the dreaded sitting disease requires a little effort on your part and a little on the part of your employer. There are new desks being made that offer the ability to adjust their height. With the push of a button or the crank of a lever, your desk can be raised to meet your standing height, thus allowing you to work from a different position just as effectively as you did when seated. The desks aren’t all that much more expensive than a traditional office setup and have been shown to increase productivity and decrease work-related illnesses. While the complete remodeling of an office setting may not be economically feasible, it’s worth a try to propose the concept to the higher-ups in your company. It’s much more cost-effective than paying out worker’s compensation claims caused by sedentary positions.
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