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Take a Stand: Why Sitting Too Much at Work is Increasing Your Butt Size & Risk of Disease

First thing’s first- stand up while you read this.  Seriously, get up.  I’ll wait.

 

 

Okay, are you standing? Good.  Most of us are stuck sitting almost the entire day- driving to work, sitting at our computer, sitting while we eat, and then coming home to zone out on the couch in front of the TV.  While we might get our 30-60 minute workout in during the morning our evening hours, the majority of our waking hours are spent squashing our butts in a chair.  Besides the fear of acquiring dreaded “bus driver butt”, there are actually many reasons why sitting too much should scare us out of our chairs.  This applies even if you work out daily- unfortunately the long amounts of sedentary-ness (I made that word up) still puts you at high risk for numerous diseases: heart disease, obesity, muscle degeneration, digestive issues, cancer, back problems, high cholesterol… ok seriously, there’s not one advantage to sitting all day.

According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, “People who spent the most time sitting during the day had a 24 percent increased risk of colon cancer compared to those who logged the least amount of hours in a chair…For endometrial—or uterine—cancer, the risks were even higher.  There was a 32 percent increased risk for women who spent the most time seated compared to those who sat the least, and a 66% increase for those who watched the most TV.” Read full article from CBS news HERE.

Those are some pretty terrifying stats.  Human bodies need to move to get blood flowing and oxygen pumping through our systems.  When we are sedentary all day, our function level is about on par with trying to swim through a pool full of sand.

So what’s a person to do that is banished to their cube blasting numbers into Excel spreadsheets all day? (By the way, hats off to you, you are living my nightmare).  The year is not 1842 where we would be out doing physical activity like plowing fields, pitchforking horse poo, digging ditches, and churning butter from sunrise to sunset.  So if you are an able bodied individual, here are some easy ways to get off that ba-donk of yours at the office.

-Remember those antiquated, staggered pieces of material called stairs?  Use ‘em!  If your office is on the 75th floor, I don’t expect you to be dragging your tired buns up them every day.  But guess what?  Could you walk up to the 5th floor and then catch the elevator the rest of the way?  Yup.

-Time to bust out your inner McGyver and put together a standing desk for yourself.  This can be as classy as putting your laptop on an overturned milk crate.  Or you can splurge and get something fancy schmancy (official description) from several websites like Amazon.com.  Hellooo Prime shipping.  If there’s no way to set up a standing desk in your office, at least stand or walk while you are on the phone.  Or walk to your co-worker’s cube to deliver a message like people used to do in olden times.

-Game on- challenge yourself and/or your co-workers.  Purchase a pedometer- you can find them crazy cheap at your nearest big box store or if you love technology, invest in a FitBit or Polar Loop that will also track your sleep and calorie burn.  Throw down some cash money with your co-workers and whoever does the most steps in a month wins the pot.  Make sure you add in a sprinkle of trash talk to keep things spicy.  If your co-workers are lame-o’s and don’t like challenges, make a bet with yourself.  Purchase a gift certificate to your favorite store and then make a trusted friend or family member hold it hostage until you reach your goal number of steps for a month.

Hopefully you can work one or all of these suggestions into your office life.  Feel free to get creative and brainstorm with your co-workers on other ways to make your 9-5 a more active place.  As an easy reminder to yourself to stay standing, repeat this motto in your head, “I only need to sit when I’m taking a sh*t”.

Happy standing!
For other articles and suggestions on how to incorporate more movement into your day and the repercussions of too much sitting, click here and here.

 

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