Do You Have a Killer Desk Job?

July 26, 2013 in STSMPT

Is your desk job killing you? It could be, literally.

More and more studies are popping up on what is being called “inactivity research.” This research is looking at how inactivity, in particular sitting for prolonged periods of time, can have a negative impact on your health.

One of the studies found that the mortality rate for those who spent six hours or more sitting each day was 34% higher for women and 17% higher for men in comparison to those who reported sitting three hours or less. The participants who spent 6+ hours sitting still had a higher mortality rate even if they exercised an hour each day. The 14-year long study by a team from the American Cancer Society analyzed data from 123,000 middle-aged adults.

Other similar studies have been conducted over the years but the conclusion is the same: long periods of sitting or inactivity can increase risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, muscle weakening, among other health problems.

So what can people with desk jobs do? Researchers suggest taking short activity breaks by pacing around the office, standing when on the phone, and volunteering to do some of the office chores such as unpacking supplies. Those who work from a home office are encouraged to take a break to wash some dishes or take a walk around the block to divide up those long bouts of inactivity.

Source: Patel A, Bernstein L, Deka A, et al. Leisure time spent sitting in relation to total mortality in a prospective cohort of US adults. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2010; 172 (4): 419-429.

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