Is working in an office really as unhealthy as smoking?
Well yes sitting down for eight hours a day is slowly killing you and shortening your lifespan equivalent to being a smoker.
Sitting for hours without any activity in the office and then coming home and slumping in front of the television is a ticket to an early grave so the experts are telling us. Good news is physical activity doesn’t mean high intensity training in the gym or running 5km every day. It means movement. but with some exertion e.g. do some chair squats, lunges, chair push-ups, – who cares what your coworkers think they’ll be pushing up daises whilst you are reaping the benefits of a your office exercises.
Why not walk to a cafe that is a 10 min round trip , find some stairs and walk up and down them 5 times. Do something for a few minutes until you can feel your heart pumping. This is more or less what the research is saying: do something for 5 minutes every hour in the office. I recommend including real exercise in your weekly routine where you break a sweat and get your heart racing to 70% of your maximum. However the good news is that recent research says low intensity frequent activity that adds up to an hour of movement seems to cancel out the deadly consequences of not moving at all.
Here’s some highlights from the article and a link to it
Office workers must exercise for an hour a day to combat the “deadly” risk of modern working life, a major study has found.
Sitting for at least eight hours a day could increase the risk of premature death by up to 60 per cent, the study of more than one million adults published in The Lancet found, with sedentary lifestyles now posing as great a threat to public health as smoking and causing more deaths than obesity.
Workers who spend several hours each day at their desk should change their routine to include a five-minute break every hour, as well as take exercise at lunchtimes and evenings, the study recommended.
An hour of brisk walking or cycling spread over a day was enough to combat the dangers of eight hours sitting in the office, the researchers said.
Current public health advice recommends just half this level of activity – yet almost half of women and one third of men fail to achieve even this.
Prof Ulf Ekelund, the lead scientist, from Cambridge University and the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, said: “We found that at least one hour of physical activity per day, for example brisk walking or cycling, eliminates the association between sitting time and death.”
He added: “You don’t need to do sport, you don’t need to go to the gym, it’s OK doing some brisk walking maybe in the morning, during your lunchtime, after dinner in the evening. You can split it up over the day but you need to do at least one hour.”
Researchers said the typical modern routine of spending a day in front of a computer, followed by an evening slumped in front of the television was proving fatal.