After a long, grueling day at work, you kick off your shoes and slip on your pajamas. You slide into the couch and enjoy your well-deserved night of sitting. Of course, this comes after a day of sitting at the office and sitting in your car or sitting on the bus—it feels good, but is it good for us? Our society aims to make us as comfortable as possible in many ways, and providing reasons and excuses to sit is a large part of our culture—so much so that standing at a standard office job seems silly and unprofessional. However, new research claims that sitting is actually “the new smoking” in terms of our health.
Take a seat—or not.
America has long prescribed exercise to counter stationary lifestyles, but scientists reveal that this may not be good enough. In fact, even in physically fit individuals, every hour spent sitting is actually taking small steps to attack their health, similar reports conclude. Sitting for an extended amount of time, as we often do at work, leads to increased risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and hypertension. It even changes the very wiring of your brain to prefer less movement over standing, so before you know it, you’re trapped in a vicious sedentary cycle—but this can be changed.
At the corporate level, new technologies such as treadmill desks have made their way into offices throughout the country. A treadmill desk is exactly what it sounds like: a treadmill outfitted with a platform to put your laptop on so you can work throughout the day while moving. It’s obviously recommended that you go at a walking pace, but this still burns a ton of calories you wouldn’t be losing by sitting at your desk.
These actions are just the beginning of what you can do to change your health, and maybe the beginning of changing our work culture. Research has shown that standing three hours a day five days a week, over the course of a year, is the equivalent of running about 10 marathons. Next time you go to sit down to check your email, think about it.
“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
Henry David Thoreau
Want to walk at work? Check out these treadmill desks.
Editor's Note: As a result of recent inner office awareness, the Spaces Quarterly desks have all been converted into standing desks (extendable legs and one Varidesk). Also, our intern Olivia did an entire video on standing as a result of this mini standing revolution, titled: Take A Stand.