Make yourself comfortable, but not too comfortable, because spending a lot of time in a sitting position can be bad for your health. To put it bluntly, Queen’s University’s research with Ulster University in Belfast has shown that 70,000 people die every year in Britain from workplace sedentary lifestyle diseases. A bad habit if quantifiable in more than six hours spent in the chair. We talked about the risks of sedentariness and how our body is not made for sedentariness with Professor Daniela Lucini, head of Exercise Medicine of Humanitas.
Smoking and sedentary work: same level of risk?
This survey confirms another study conducted in the USA in 2017, according to which sitting for a long time would significantly increase the risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes, developing colon or lung cancer and suffering from heart disease. It should be noted that the study does not consider time spent sitting at home; an addendum that further aggravates the situation. The study compares the sedentary lifestyle in the workplace with smoking: the chairs would then be the new cigarettes, risking to produce equally serious damage to people’s health. The sedentary lifestyle has far greater consequences on the body than we thought and not only obesity is linked to lack of motion. There are consequences on hormones, metabolism, cholesterol, insulin and mechanisms that regulate the presence of sugars and fats in the blood. Even the memory of those who are too seated suffers damage and the cells of his brain are renewed more slowly. To remedy a situation that is not always in your power to govern, you should stand up and take a walk at least once every hour or choose, when of course possible, to do what you usually do while sitting and standing. In some companies, for example, many meetings are already held on their feet, with the advantage of reducing their duration.
Solutions to combat sedentariness
The experts who conducted the research invited employers to find solutions, including changing the layout of the offices and the organization of processes to prevent employees from sitting for too long. Leonie Heron, the doctor who led the research, invites every company to look for remedies: “In essence, we have discovered that the way in which the working day is structured for many people is likely to damage their health. It’s not just about physical activity in your free time, it’s about the world of work taking care of this problem. To dispel any easy illusion, researchers deny, in fact, that attending a gym outside the office can solve the problem, because the effects accumulated in six hours while sitting are not eliminated with half an hour of exercises. Habits need to be changed in depth by rethinking the way work has been organized in recent decades and also by reviewing the behavior at home. It turns out that children who spend a lot of time sitting in front of a TV or computer will be more likely to sit up as adults. And the problem is compounded by the fact that the daily activities that previously required to leave home and move (cinema, shopping, visits, games) can now be carried out at home sitting in front of a computer. But there is one small detail not to be forgotten: our organism was not designed to stand still.