We’ve said it before: sitting all day at work is your enemy. It increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and a new study we found in The Washington Post shows that people who sit six or more hours a day - even if they exercise – are more likely to die younger. Standing at work may not be the answer either. Experts say that causes spinal disc pressure and makes your heart pump harder. It can also cause long-term back injuries and increased risk of carotid artery disease. In fact, a researcher at Cornell University says standing at work all day is one of the worst things you can do.
So what’s the solution? Experts suggest adjustable desks that allow you to sit or stand to work. For example, the Geek Desk sells for $800. It’s got an electric motor that raises and lowers the desktop, and the company claims sales have tripled this year. Their clients include the Secret Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. In fact, a lot of government agencies now require office furniture that allows employees to stand on the job. More and more private companies allow standing, too – like America Online. Ten percent of their staffers prefer to work on their feet. One AOL employee who stands says it feels more natural, and he feels more energetic. Others say it makes them feel more focused, more productive, and keeps them from getting sleepy after lunch.
Dr. James Levin is an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic. He says humans weren’t built to sit all day. We were built to move and walk on a fairly continuous basis. Getting every employee an adjustable desk isn’t realistic. So, what can you do to boost your health if you’re stuck at a desk all day?
- Instead of sitting on a chair, try sitting on an exercise ball. You’ll improve your balance, tone your core muscles, and burn calories while you work.
- Another tip: Get up and walk around once an hour. Instead of sending email to a co-worker, go talk to them in person. The more you move during the day, the better off you’ll be.