A sedentary lifestyle may not be what you think it is. If you sit for more than eight hours a day, you qualify as having a sedentary lifestyle. I probably just described about 95% of the population! Students and their parents spend most of their day at a desk. It’s simply the way our modern society is structured. Whether you are studying, in class or working on your computer, sitting is probably what you do most of the day, followed by a couple of hours sitting in front of the TV before you go to bed. Researchers now believe that all this sitting could be shaving decades off our lives. The detrimental effects of sitting on your health are profound and aren’t mitigated by the other activity you do.
Why sitting is bad for your health
This means that if, like me, you get plenty of exercise, you will still suffer the negative health effects that are caused by years of sitting. A study by the Universities of Leicester and Loughborough found that over the 18 studies that they looked at involving 800 000 participants, those who sat for long periods during the day were 54% more likely to get heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Prof Stuart Biddle, of Loughborough University who was part of the study had this to say: “What is clear is that anyone who spends lots of time sitting or lying down would benefit from replacing some of that time by standing or walking. Aside from any direct effect reducing the amount of time you spend sitting down may have, getting more physical activity is a great way of helping maintain a healthy weight, which is the best way of minimising your risk of Type 2 diabetes.”
Prevention is better than cure
While you can take measures to reduce the amount of time you spend in front of the TV and include more physical activity in your daily life, it’s really tough to reduce the amount of time you spend working at your desk. This is true for parents and for students who have to put in the hours in front of their computers.
One of the solutions to this problem is the stand-up desk. These desks can elevate their surfaces so that users can stand while working on the computer or the level of the computer can be lowered so that you can sit and work.
It’s tough to get used to standing for long periods while working. I spend most of my day at a desk so I decided to try out the standing desk concept before I invested in a new desk. I put my laptop on a breakfast tray (the kind with the fold-out legs) so I could raise it or lower it as I liked.
At first, I could only stand for about 15 minutes before I started to feel uncomfortable, but I was surprised at how soon I adjusted. It’s a small price to pay to add a few decades onto my life!
The desks have become a popular seller at most furniture and office supply stores, but you can find more information here.