Desk jobs comprise a large portion of Canadian’s jobs in the 21st century. Many of us may sit for over 8 hours at the same desk and only really get up to get lunch or go to the bathroom. Here is what happens when you sit at your desk for prolonged periods of time
1.) Decreased Energy Expenditure: your non-exercise activity thermogenesis decreases when you sit at your desk for too long. You are burning fewer calories than calories that are coming into the body.
2.) Posture gets compromised: when you sit the pressure on the lumbar discs increases because your pelvis gets rotated backwards. You get stiff shoulders and neck muscles when you hunch your back.
3.) Slower Metabolism: Prolonged sitting decreases the clearance of fat from the blood stream and reduces the insulin’s effects in the body.
4.) Lowered Social Skills: When interaction is only done via the internet this causes decreases in psychological well-being and social interactions within the workplace.
5.) Loneliness and Depression: A decrease in one’s social circle results of only using a computer as a form of communication which in turn causes depression and loneliness.
6.) Metabolic Syndrome: Prolonged sitting and in turn decreased energy expenditure results in the increase of obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
7.) Chronic Pain: Prolonged sitting with a poor posture leads to increases in lower back pressure.
8.) Obesity: When you sit for prolonged periods of time the major muscle groups are not being utilized which decreases energy expenditure. This in turn could cause weight gain leading to obesity.
9.) Rheumatic Disorders: prolonged sitting results in “wear and tear” of the joints which may lead to diseases such as osteoarthritis.
10.) Heart Disease: Prolonged sitting has been shown to increase the incidence of heart disease by up to 64%.
What to do to reduce the outcomes of prolonged sitting:
1.) Move around in your seat.
2.) Use a stand up desk.
3.) Stand during lunch or when talking on the phone if you can.
4.) For meetings with colleagues do laps around the office instead of sitting in the conference room.
5.) Try a treadmill desk where you position your work station above a treadmill.
6.) Increase breaks to walk around throughout the work day.