Blog series: Combat sitting with a standing desk! | Part 3: Weight gain, belly fat and diabetes
Welcome to our third and final part of our standing desk blog series. We hope we’ve managed to provide you with an all-encompassing resource that you can refer to again and again!
All caught up? Let’s go…
Part three takes a look at some of the most dangerous and unhealthy consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. Stand up when you read these facts!
The dangers of sitting: our sedentary lifestyle
Studies over the past few years have found clear correlations between those who spend a large part of their day sitting and many health risks. Here’s a recap of some of the most prevalent dangers of sitting.
Is your sedentary lifestyle putting your health at risk?
Those extra kilos can sneak up on you
Did you know that when you’re sitting, your calorie-burning rate can drop to just one per minute? That’s insanely low. That number rises though, each time you stand up, take the stairs, go for a quick walk, pound the pavement (or treadmill!), or any other movement that activates those muscles which have switched off.
A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to belly fat (the dangerous kind)
This is the kind that can greatly increase the chance of heart disease.
In short, everyone has fat cells, and the purpose of these cells is to store energy and secrete hormones that regulate blood sugar levels. Overweight people, though, have larger fat cells which can shut down, making insulin production (the hormone that regulates bloody-sugar) difficult.
Fat cells – scientifically known as visceral cells – can also lead to inflammation and artery clogging, resulting in high blood pressure and even heart attack and disease.
You’re also at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes (because blood-sugar levels are imbalanced), liver failure (due to the close proximity of this organ to the belly fat), and even sleep apnea.
Exercise may not necessarily negate the damage of sitting!
Yep, this is a harsh reality!
Australians are changing their attitudes towards healthy eating and regular exercise, which in itself is wonderful to see.
However, those hours you’re spending in the gym aren’t necessarily cancelling out the hours of damage you’re doing to your body when you’re sitting at your desk all day!
In fact, this recent study (July 2014) has found that for every hour you sit, you negate eight per cent of the health benefits of exercising!
A study way back in 1949 compared bus drivers (the “sitters”) and bus conductors (the “standers”), and found that the conductors had around half the risk of developing heart disease compared to the drivers, due in part to their lifestyle. The drivers sat for most of the day, while the conductors climbed up and down the bus steps, hitting around 500 – 700 steps per day.
Standing all day isn’t the answer, either!
Just as sitting for eight hours straight wreaks havoc on our health and bodies, standing non-stop for the same amount of time is no better, either!
The key here is switching it up. Regularly alternating between sitting and standing throughout the eight hours you’re in the office is the best way to beat a sedentary lifestyle and protect your body from the nasties we’re gone through above.
Moving throughout the day needn’t be an inconvenient or arduous task.
1) Move your muscles.
When you’re sitting, flex, jiggle, stretch, contract and extend your legs. Raise your legs so that your calves are parallel to the ground and your feet are pointing up. Hold it for 30 seconds. you might start to quiver, but that’s OK! After 30 seconds, slowly lower them, rest for a moment, then back up they go! Repeat this 8-10 times (or as often as you can) throughout the day.
Skip the escalator or lift and power up that staircase! A brisk five minute walk a couple of times a day will re-energise you, and drinking more water will encourage you to get up and go the bathroom more often!
2) Regular breaks.
No matter where you’re sitting, and no matter for how long, regular breaks from sitting can greatly contribute to a lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
If you’re sitting at a desk or curled up on the couch with your laptop, we challenge you, right now! Up you get. Go for a walk around the office (or your house). Shoot up and down a flight of stairs a couple of times. How long did that take? Not more than 60 seconds, right?
Ready for a standing desk?
If you feel restricted in your office to take regular walking breaks, a standing desk gives you the ultimate freedom to alternate between sitting and standing throughout your work day. The best practise is to alternate regularly: every half-hour or hour.
Our desks are most commonly known as standing desks, but they literally are height adjustable desks.
Will a standing desk become an office distraction?
Not in the slightest!
Why? Because the quiet, motorised desk adjusts with just a push of a button, and you can program in your ideal standing and
sitting heights, so you can set it and forget it!
The desk is completely level, so you won’t ever have to worry about spilling your coffee or a precariously-balanced computer screen!
The misconception that standing desks are a new trend is now well and truly outdated. Ergonomic office furniture is a major part of a harmonious, healthy office or home, and we hope you’ll take away the vital facts about the dangers of prolonged sitting, and the benefits a standing desk can bring to you and your employees.
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