Thousands of years ago the human body evolved to hunt, gather, fish, migrate hundreds of miles in tribes and endure other extreme physical conditions. Flash forward to now and the average worker in the developed world spends 87% of their waking hours sitting down. As technology has drastically improved our lives, it has also made survival so radically convenient that many of us are forgetting to use our bodies throughout the day. The amount of hours we spend standing, actively engaging our bodies, rather than sitting in a sedentary position can literally impact how long we live. Thankfully design elements in the chair and desk are beginning to evolve and technology is now able to accommodate our physical bodies, allowing for a fusion that keeps us upright and active without having to sacrifice any of the benefits of technology. Here are four ways excess sitting is literally killing us.
We are eating roughly the same amount of calories as we did hundreds of years ago, the variable that has changed is how much we are sitting. Dr. James Levine points out that, “Human beings used to be entirely leg based with our work, taking occasional breaks to sit. Now we are entirely chair based with our work taking occasional breaks to walk.” We are sitting about 80% more and therefore not burning the same amount of calories. The results are sky rocketing amounts of people with sedentary and metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes.
Not only are many of us sitting down all day, but we’re sitting down with BAD POSTURE. When we do this the bones in our back and neck start to settle in unfamiliar ways that cause our spines to stiffen and lose flexibility. When we finally do stand up we wind up hunching over and develop painful knots that make it difficult for us to participate in active leisure outside of work.
As the body remains inactive the mind becomes sedentary as well. Cortisol, a chemical related to stress, anxiety and weight gain begins to rise as the electrical activity in our body shuts down. Spending 87% of our waking hours in front of a computer screen is not beneficial to our mental well being and there is good reason to believe that excess sitting contributes to depression and other low mood disorders. One solution is to take multiple standing and walking breaks throughout the day.
Many of us have an inclination to explore our souls by seeking new experiences and doing amazing things with our lives, whether that is traveling, falling in love or doing something as simple as taking a hike in nature. These activities contribute to spiritual growth and holistic nourishment. When we are sitting down for the majority of our week we are unable to do the things we want to and can develop a sense of malaise and bitterness. If you’re unfamiliar with what I’m talking about visit any cubicle based office and see for yourself.
Preventing the negative effects of excess sitting does not require quitting your job and volunteering at a yoga retreat in Sri Lanka. In fact, there is very little work involved with fixing the situation. The first step of improving any problem is becoming conscious of the problem itself. Now that you are aware of the science behind the negative effects of prolonged sitting you can begin removing habits that may be contributing to your physical and mental pain. We also offer products designed to make your life at work easier and healthier. Standwhileworking.com sells the highest quality standing desks, treadmill desks and upright chairs on the market and we’re happy to talk to you about what would work best for your current situation. Stand up and start living!