You are most probably reading this article sitting down. And if you are a computer user like millions of office workers out there, you don’t have a choice and must work at a desk for extended hours. But do you also sit in your car while commuting to head back home so you can unwind in front of the television for what’s left of the day?
Compared to previous generations, we are living in a time when not only our physical activity is limited, but we are also choose to sit for hours whether it is in our cars, at home or while performing tasks that once required movement such as shopping, which can now be done online. Occurring only very recently, during a tiny fraction of human existence, a shift from a physically demanding life to one with few physical challenges or requirements occurred.
If you can easily relate to all that, then you may have the “sitting disease”, which is the new catchphrase for a sedentary lifestyle that may put your health at stake. Physical inactivity has been shown to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, especially in older women. Other conditions are associated with a sedentary lifestyle are:
The term ‘sedentary’ has long been used for those who do not exercise. However, this is no longer an adequate perspective. Recent epidemiological evidence proves that the metabolic and long-term health effects of regular sedentary behavior (too much sitting) are dissimilar to those who are physically inactive (too little exercise). Advancements in technology used to exemplify the movement patterns in populations have shed light on this shift in perspective.
It has become apparent that the majority of sedentary individuals face two obstacles; too little exercise and too much sitting. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to learn how to set limits and guidelines concerning children's screen time -television, DVDs, and video games- for instance, no more than two hours per day is recommended.
As in previous times, parents are still in the habit of telling their children to get off the sofa and go out and play, as well as engaging in other activities and developing other interests outside video games. However, adults aren’t that different from their adolescent counterparts. Living in a world of devices, with the world at our fingertips, it is easy to fall into the Sitting Disease trap. Adults, too, should receive similar advice from physicians, to be more physically active and get out of their seats more often, when at home and at work.
There are a number of ways one can integrate physical activity into an office routine. Taking the stairs rather than the elevator, talking with colleagues in person rather than sending an email, taking lunch outside of the office. Incorporating physical activity into your office routine once every 30-60 minutes can have a positive impact on your health and mood.