We've all heard the thought-provoking phrase: "Sitting is the new smoking", and you've probably wondered if it's true. 

It might not be the exact same thing, but sitting has become a significant health risk in modern-day society. We spend hours in front of our desks, having back-to-back meetings, never moving, eating desk lunches, and working overtime.

In this article, we delve into the negative impact sitting has on our physical and mental health and what we can do to overcome being chained to our desks while remaining productive. 

The health risks of prolonged sitting

Many modern jobs require prolonged sitting in front of a computer, which can lead to various health issues. Sitting for extended periods of time on a daily basis poses a significant risk to your health. These health risks include:

  • Obesity:

Experts believe prolonged sitting can reduce metabolism, negatively impacting the body's ability to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure and break down body fat. This, in turn, can increase the risk of obesity.

  • Cardiovascular disease:

If you don't move enough, your blood flow slows, causing fatty acids to accumulate in your blood vessels. This can result in heart disease and reduce your body's ability to process fats.

  • Type 2 Diabetes:

When the adipose tissue (fat) releases too many free fatty acids, it can cause a decrease in the sensitivity of muscle, fat, and liver to insulin. This can lead to high glucose levels, insulin resistance, and eventually type 2 diabetes.

  • Muscle degeneration:

Prolonged sitting can lead to the weakening and atrophy of the major leg and gluteal muscles, which are crucial for walking and maintaining stability. This can increase the risk of injuries from falls and strains during exercise.

  • Back pain: 

Sitting for extended periods can make muscles stiff and put pressure on the discs in the lower back. Slouching can strain the spine's ligaments, leading to abnormal forces in the lumbar joints and discs, resulting in pain.

  • Poor Posture:

When you sit for a long time, your posture can change. Your lower back can become flatter, and your muscles can become weaker, making them tired even when you're not doing much.

  • Mental Health Issues:

Symptoms of anxiety and depression have long been linked to sedentary lifestyles. All that sitting can affect your mental state, too, as some studies suggest that reducing sedentary behaviour may reduce glycaemic variability and protect against cognitive decline.

The Benefits of Standing Desks:

Owning a standing desk and using it at work has myriad benefits, including increasing your effectiveness at work. More importantly, studies show that even though you work out after work, it does not eliminate the adverse effects of sitting for eight or more hours every day.

Let's dive into some of the other benefits standing desks provide.

Reduction in sitting time 

If you reduce the amount of time you spend sitting, you can lower your risk of developing slow metabolism, high blood pressure, bad posture, and back pain. It can also assist you in breaking down body fat.

Increased calorie burn

Recent research suggests that standing for six hours instead of sitting can help reduce your waistline and burn calories, resulting in a weight loss of up to five kilograms over a year. So, it's a good idea to stand more and sit less.

Improved Posture

When you stand frequently, maintaining proper posture becomes more natural and helps avoid spinal compression that can occur from sitting. Extended periods of sitting can cause pressure on your back and discs, resulting in discomfort in your back, shoulders, and neck.

Improved circulation

Standing for at least two hours daily can improve circulation, reduce the risk of blood clots, and counteract the adverse effects of sitting. Using a standing desk is an effective way to achieve this.

Increased Energy Levels

Standing increases blood flow to the brain, which helps to provide it with the necessary oxygen and nutrients to function at its best. Sitting for extended periods can cause fatigue and sluggishness, but standing can improve mood and energy levels.

Increased productivity

When you stand instead of sitting, your energy levels increase, improving productivity. Standing maintains stable energy levels, avoiding the mid-afternoon slump. Additionally, standing increases alertness, which enhances focus and concentration.

Alternating Between Sitting and Standing

Prolonged standing can also negatively affect your health. For example, it can lead to increased fatigue and risk of illnesses like cardiovascular disease. This is due to blood pooling in the legs, increased pressure in the veins, and increased oxidative stress. To prevent this, experts recommended standing for one hour for every two hours spent sitting. It's essential to find a balance between sitting and standing while working, so try creating a schedule for yourself. A great way to improve your productivity and overall health is by using a WalkingPad with a standing desk. This compact and foldable treadmill can fit under your desk, allowing you to walk while you work comfortably.

Using a WalkingPad and a standing desk can provide considerable health benefits to individuals who spend long hours sitting at their desks. 

Health Benefits of Using a WalkingPad and Standing Desk:

1. Improves Posture: Standing desks are great for improving your posture by keeping you upright, which can prevent back pain and strain on your neck and shoulders. WalkingPad can also improve your posture by engaging your core and helping you maintain proper alignment.

2. Burns Calories: Standing and walking both burn more calories than sitting. Using a WalkingPad and standing desk can increase your daily calorie burn and support weight loss goals.

3. Reduces Risk of Chronic Disease: Sitting for long periods has been linked to a higher risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Regular standing and walking can help lower these risks.

4. Boosts Energy and Brain Function: Standing and walking are both great for getting your blood flowing and can help boost energy levels and cognitive function. This can lead to increased productivity and focus at work.

5. Supports Joint Health: Using a WalkingPad and a standing desk can reduce the risk of joint pain and stiffness that can be caused by prolonged sitting.

Incorporating a WalkingPad and a standing desk into your routine can promote a healthier, more active lifestyle and enhance your overall well-being.

Ways of incorporating movement in your workday

Incorporating movement into your workday is highly beneficial for both physical and mental health. Sitting for prolonged periods can lead to various health problems, such as poor posture, muscle tension, and reduced blood flow. Movement, on the other hand, can help to combat these issues by increasing blood flow and oxygenation to the brain and body, improving overall posture and flexibility, and reducing stiffness and tension in muscles.

Additionally, incorporating regular movement breaks throughout the workday can help to improve focus and productivity. Exercise has been shown to lead to improved cognitive function, memory, and mental clarity, making it easier to stay focused and engaged throughout the workday.

Incorporating physical activity into your workday is easier than you may think.

Here are some simple methods to get moving:

  • Use a standing desk and alternate between sitting and standing.

  • Don't sit for prolonged periods; take standing or walking breaks.

  • Use a WalkingPad to walk while working.

  • Choose stairs over elevators whenever possible.

  • Using a WalkingPad Anti-Fatigue Wobble Stand or a stability ball as your chair.

  • Take a walk during your lunch break.

  • Use a WalkingPad Pro Desk Bike to bike while working

  • Use a headset or speakerphone to walk while on phone calls.

  • Rather use Imail instead of Email (Go to a person to communicate instead of texting or emailing.) 

By following these simple tips, you can add physical activity to your workday without disrupting your workflow.

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