Is Sitting the New Smoking?

Move over cigarettes, there is a new killer in town- and it’s something you would least expect. Sitting has been labeled as the new smoking with research from the Annals of Internal Medicine journal finding that the effects of a sedentary lifestyle can have drastic implications on your health. In fact, their study discovered that sitting in front of a screen for more than four hours at a time can mean an increased risk of death by 50% and a risk of heart attack or chest pain by a whopping 125%.

Trying to combat your sitting lifestyle with a vigorous exercise routine? Unfortunately, this isn’t enough. People with desk jobs are twice as likely to die younger- even if you are working hard at the gym. To put it into perspective, expert Dr. James Levine (director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative) has put the risks of standing into two confronting sentences.

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”

For most people, sitting has become an integral part of their everyday life. We sit down to breakfast, sit down at work, sit down to drive, sit down to relax on the couch…the list is endless. With the average person spending around 12 hours a day sitting, it is easy to see how this health crisis is affecting us all. Even our leisurely activities are centered around sitting with our days off spent watching Netflix, driving with the family or going out for dinners.

So what can we do to combat the sitting disease? Researchers suggest you should try to alternate between sitting and standing every 30-60min. Sitting less and moving more will put you on the pathway to optimum health. Another option is to opt for an adjustable height desk so you are standing rather than sitting for long periods of time of study or work. Just Stand has found that an adjustable standing desk can provide other positive benefits such as increased oxygen and nutrients to the brain with an improvement in blood flow, an increase in energy and improved posture. However, keep in mind that standing is still considered a sedentary position and you will still need to get up and about to keep your body moving.

Adjustable Height Desk By Steelcase

Adjustable Height Desk By Steelcase

Other ideas to combat the sitting crisis is to opt to walk/bike ride to work or meetings and always take the stairs rather than the lift. If you are on a phone call, stretch your legs and try to walk around the office to keep your body active. Have a message for your colleague who works in the same office? Rather than sending them an email, text or phone call, take a quick stroll and talk to them in person. These little things can make an impressive impact on your sitting habits which in turn could prevent dire health consequences in the future. Encourage your workmates to do the same and your entire boardroom may see an increase in positive moods, metabolism and pain relief.

Many businesses in Singapore have already embraced the adjustable desk revolution for their employees. Facebook HQ has even incorporated treadmills with desks for those who really want to move! Excited to buy your own? Head to Haworth or Steelcase to purchase one for your office. Have a desk you like and still need a good option? Humanscale and Singapore startup Altizen offer an alternative “plug and play” quick sit-stand solution. Simply add it to your existing desk. Working out of coworking spaces or flexible offices? Here are a few that offer adjustable height desks:

These may seem like simple fixes, however, these small changes to your sitting lifestyle may just equal to a healthier and longer life. How do you combat the sitting disease? Leave your comments below! If you’re interested in checking out spaces with ergonomic seats and furnishings, we’d be happy to help walk you through some options. Simply reach out to our friendly Space Experts at support@gorillaspace.co or +65 8817 9170.

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