Does your desk job put your health at risk?

Thousands of women spend their time working desk jobs. Does sitting for hours increase your risk for certain hearth problems? According to new research, sitting for hours does impact your longevity. Learn what you can do to lessen those risks, lose weight, and have more energy.

Dr. Alpa Patel, who is a senior epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society, led a large study based on 123,000 people during the years from 1992 to 2006. When his research was released last year, it shook up a lot of professionals. The findings concluded that if you are a woman and sit for more than six hours a day, you run a 37% risk of dying early. Men run an 18% risk. Women with the most hours at their desk and who didn't exercise had twice the death rate over more physically active women. Men had a 50% greater risk under the same work circumstances.

Sitting at your desk is not the only factor to consider in this health issue: Look at the typical American lifestyle of watching hours of television every day. Your hours sitting at your desk are then compounded by your sedentary lifestyle at home. Another researcher, Dr. Frank Hu, professor at Harvard University, also has researched this subject. His research focused on television sitting time. He explains how sitting causes negative metabolic changes in the body. His study, over six years, involved 175,000 people living in different parts of the world. They monitored factors such as family history, body mass index, and cholesterol. His findings were shocking. For every two hours of TV watching, there are 176 new cases of diabetes, 38 more deaths from heart disease, and 104 more deaths from other causes per 100,000 people.

Why is sitting so negative for your health? When you are not moving, your body's circulation slows down. Activity circulates the blood throughout your system, moving oxygen to every part of the body. This activity also stimulates the lymphatic system to move out accumulated toxins, as well. When you sit for hours at your job or at home, your whole system gets sluggish. Toxins build up. If you eat while sitting at your desk or on the couch, you are doing nothing to use those calories. Most of the foods we eat at our desks are junk food, empty food, or treats high in sugar and calories. This is what leads to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and circulation problems. I have genetically bad legs that are prone to clotting. Every hour or so I get up from my writing, and go outside. I take breaks with garden and livestock chores. I get moving one way or another. If not, my legs and ankles will swell and I will have pain in my legs. If I don't take the time to be more active, I may end up with a blood clot. Lack of activity is very serious considering the number of jobs that involve sitting for hours in front of a computer. So what can you do when you have a job where you sit for hours?

Every activity counts toward better health: If you are working at a desk, find ways to move around. ideas to consider are to deliver a message by hand rather than by email; change the ink on the printer; take care of the office kitchen; take a walk during lunch or breaks; or try some simple leg and arm exercises at your desk. Try to add more exercise daily into your lifestyle by parking your car further away from your office, walking to work, using the steps instead of the elevator, and walking during lunch or breaks. When at home, play with your kids outdoors or walk the dog more often. Get your neighbor or spouse to walk with you, which is more fun. Get your whole family involved. All of this will help.

New office ideas that promote better health: There is now a balance ball office chair manufactured that some professionals are using. One company is making a treadmill desk which combines a desk with a treadmill. You carry out your work while walking slowly on the attached treadmill. For people who spend hours on the phone, this would work well. This new desk was developed by Dr. James Levine at the Mayo Clinic and is built by Steelcase.This new treadmill desk is catching on with company CEOs trying to improve the health of their office workers and lower their insurance costs.

Take control of your health now: Now that you know how important moving is to your health, you need to take the mind set to get moving today. You are in control. Don't put it off. Over the next few weeks, begin to make simple lifestyle changes that will add years to the quality of your life and health. Adopting positive lifestyle changes will help you to avoid obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Take time now to move your life in a healthy direction.


Reno Gazette Journal, September 27th, 2011, Local Life Section

Vitastrong Magazine, Vol 1, No.7, In The New Section, Aug, 2011.