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Depending the type of job that you have, you may find yourself sitting or standing for long periods of time throughout the day, so which one is better? It is well known that a sedentary lifestyle is associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes (https://medlineplus.gov/healthrisksofaninactivelifestyle.html). However standing for long periods of time may not be the solution either as it can lead to back pain, varicose veins, and foot pain. If it is not ideal to sit or stand all day, what should you do?
The American Heart Association encourages everyone to move more, and sit less, with the key word being move. Most Americans “move” from the couch, to the car, to a desk, and are spending an increasing amount of time sitting. It is reported that the average office worker spends about 10 hours of their day sitting; this does not include the time spent asleep. Sedentary behavior has increased, which has also lead to a host of problems for the working adult. Not only is a sedentary lifestyle associated with a host of health risks including metabolic syndrome, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, but is also leads to decreased range of motion, increased feelings of depression and anxiety, poor blood circulation, decreased metabolism, as well as decreased muscle and bone strength.
One of the greatest myths is that you can offset risks of a sedentary lifestyle by simply exercising an hour a day. This is similar to thinking that you can smoke a pack of cigarettes every day and offset the health risks through a daily jog. For those who vigorously work out for an hour a day, it is still recommended to include continuous movement throughout your day.
How Much Movement Should I Include on a Daily Basis?
In order to achieve the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, daily physical activity of 30 minutes per day is required. This is easier to acquire than you may think. You do not need to run a half marathon to get the benefits from physical activity. The School of Public Health at Harvard (https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/moderate-and-vigorous-physical-activity/) lists several examples of moderate to vigorous exercise including a brisk walk or jog (4 mph- 6 mph), playing basketball, tennis doubles, heavy cleaning (vacuuming, mopping), and hiking.
Continuous movement at the office does not need to be a lunchtime hike either. Office movement can be included in your everyday routine through a variety of ways. This includes, walking meetings, taking a lunchtime stroll, standing up during a phone call, and stretching. Other easy and simple ways to include more movement in your daily routine include biking or walking to work, taking the stairs, parking farther away. By including these simple changes, you can truly create an active lifestyle.
Creating an active lifestyle is beneficial to both your physical and mental health. Continuous movement throughout the day, which includes a combination of sitting, standing, and walking, is the latest recommendation from a homeopathic doctor Overland Park, KS relies on to decrease the health risks associated with being sedentary.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at LifeWorks for their insight into standing versus sitting at work and alternative medicine.