Office Slump


The Australian Business Insider recently published the risks resulting from sitting for prolonged periods of time:

1. Low energy expenditure
Sitting at your desk for too long reduces your ability to produce heat resulting in a much greater component of total energy expenditure than exercise.

2. Slower metabolism
Decreased muscle contractions that occur with prolonged, immobile sitting slows the clearance of fat from the blood stream and decreases the effect of insulin. So that chocolate you just ate, is more likely to spend a moment on your lips and a lifetime on your hips.

3. Compromised posture
Sitting causes the pelvis to rotate backward and puts pressure on the lumbar discs. This position forces the head forward and causes the shoulders to curve so as to compensate for the weight transfer. Remember to stick your chest out and your shoulders back while sitting at your desk and ensure your seat is positioned correctly.

4. Back and spine injuries
Prolonged, static loading of tissues over time puts undue pressure on the lower back and stresses the surrounding muscles and joints.

5. Reduced social skills
It's easier and quicker to send an email or pick up the phone than to jump up and speak to your colleagues in the office, causing a decline in social involvement and psychological well-being.

6. Loneliness or depression
When a computer is used as the single form of communication, the size of a person's social circle is believed to decline, and feelings of depression and loneliness increase. Being stuck at your desk also means you're probably not getting outside enough. This lack of sunshine can cause a deficiency in vitamin D and ultimately lead to depression.

7. Metabolic Syndrome
A collection of disorders can have a compounding effect increasing your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease (stroke or heart disease)

8. Chronic Pain
Inadequate sitting postures, associated with long periods of sitting at a desk, provoke excessive increases of lower back pressure. These somatic pains can become the symptoms of chronic diseases.

9. Rheumatic disorders
Some rheumatic diseases like osteoarthritis are the result of "wear and tear" to the joints, like that of excessive amounts of sitting.

10. Obesity
Sitting at a desk reduces a person's energy expenditure because the body's major muscle groups aren't being utilized and calorie burning is minimized. Over an extended period of time this can lead to weight gain and in severe cases obesity.

11. Diabetes
Sitting at a desk all day impairs the body's ability to handle blood sugar, causing a reduced sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which helps carry glucose from the blood into cells where it can be used for energy.

12. Cancer
Low physical activity occupations have an increased incidence of cancer. A study found women's chances of developing breast, corpus uteri, and ovary cancer were heightened if working in a sedentary job.

13. Your risk of heart disease has increased by up to 64%
By sitting idle and leading a sedentary lifestyle, your chances of heart disease have increased.

14. Mortality is adversely effected from too much sitting, independent of physical activity.
A study found prolonged sitting time was responsible for 6.9% of deaths. The association between sitting and all-cause mortality remains consistent across women and men, age groups, weight, health and physical activity levels.

Here are a few tips to keep active while on the job:
  • Periodically move around in your seat
  • Stand or walk around while talking on the phone
  • Stretch regularly
  • If your workspace allow, use a stand up desk
  • Have organised breaks throughout the day
  • Instead of meeting your colleagues in a room, see if you can take it outside and go for a walk. Not only will you get a new perspective on things, a bit of fresh air does wonders for us all and may even spark some creativity.