Your office job is killing you

Posted on Jun 10th, 2014 | Productivity

We are in the midst of an epidemic. We can no longer sit idly by and ignore the silent killer harming so many employees around the world.

It started in America, travelled through Europe, and has even reached Asia. Now, the so-called ‘sitting disease’ is here to stay, and it’s time something was done about it.

The Mirror describes sitting as ‘a ticking time bomb of ill health just waiting to explode’; the Daily Mail says it’s as deadly as smoking. WebMD warns that sitting goes against human evolution – we were made to move, but instead we choose to perch motionless like stuffed birds, trapped inside a metaphorical cage of lethargy.

The fact is: sitting will kill you. It’s just a matter of when.

The average Brit now spends an arse-flattening 8.9 hours a day sitting down. We sit at work, we sit in the car and when we get home we sit some more – some unfortunate souls are so addicted to sitting that they do it as soon as they wake up, and just before they go to sleep! Some even sit straight after they have brushed their teeth.

The expression “a job for life” suddenly seems decidedly more sinister.

Worst hit by this epidemic are desk workers. Government propaganda makes them believe a life of sedentary office dwelling will pave the way for their future success – little do they know they are increasing their chances of a premature death. A recent report shows those who sit 11 or more hours a day are 40% more likely to die earlier than people who sit fewer than 4 hours a day. (Note: 100% of people will die either way)

The World Health Organisation has identified physical inactivity as the fourth biggest killer on the planet, ahead of obesity. It costs the UK economy £1 billion every year in sick days due to back, neck and muscle problems. The Public Library of Science found that higher amounts of daily sitting time may lead to ‘greater risk of all-cause mortality’ and has been specifically linked to chronic heart disease.

But wait, despondent, recumbent desk-jockeys – this is not the end. There is a way to beat sitting disease – exercise, even moderate, can go some way to reversing the effects of sitting. Trying not to sit as much as possible is also a very good way to beat this disease.

For the sake of our hearts, minds, spines and shapely behinds, it is now time to fight back against this potent affliction. Stand up Britain! Together we can beat this deadly addiction. Here’s how:

  • Don’t slouch – sitting at 135° puts much less strain on your back
  • Stand while at work, even if it’s just to stretch for five minutes every few hours
  • Walk to and from work
  • Spend less time sitting in your free time. Avoid the TV in the evening and go for a walk!
  • Exercise
  • Exercise
  • Just get moving

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Written by Sophie Turton

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