Do You Have a 'Chair-based Lifestyle?'
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
Maybe you should stand up while you read this. No, seriously...stand up.
A number of new studies have shown that sedentary lifestyles are lethal, even if you exercise a few times a week, and even if your weight is normal. Last year, an American Cancer Society study of 123,000 Americans found that men who sat more than six hours per day in their leisure time had a 20 percent higher death rate than those who spent less than three leisure hours sitting down, reported the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH).
The implications of sedentary days were even worse for women than men: more than six hours of sedentary leisure time equated to a 40 percent higher death rate. Another recent study conducted by David Dunstan, PhD of 9,000 Australian adults suggested that for each additional hour of sitting in front of a television (or a computer!), a person’s risk of dying rises 11 percent — even after controlling for other risk factors such as age, sex, smoking, hypertension and leisure-time exercise.
In other words, a nine-to-five desk job will be the death of you. Are you standing up yet?“What has happened is that a lot of the normal activities of daily living that involved standing up and moving the muscles in the body have been converted to sitting,” said Dr. Dunstan. “Technological, social, and economic changes mean that people don't move their muscles as much as they used to — consequently the levels of energy expenditure as people go about their lives continue to shrink. For many people, on a daily basis they simply shift from one chair to another — from the chair in the car to the chair in the office to the chair in front of the television.”But experts believe there is a solution for sedentary office workers. Simply put, finding even the smallest of ways to move around during the workday can improve your outcome. The Mayo Clinic’s Dr. James Levine, for example, showed The New York Times reporter James Vlahos (see Vlahos' article, “Is Sitting A Lethal Activity?” a human resources staffing agency in which many of the employees worked on treadmill desks, thus moving away from the “chair-based lifestyle.”
Wait, treadmill desks? Talk about feeling like a hamster in a wheel at your job. I wonder if employers can harness the energy we generate and offset the electric bills?
Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves