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Sitting at Desk

Could sitting for long times be killing us?

Hi everyone, now we all know too much sitting is bad for us, but could it actually be killing us?

Did you know that over ten million Australian workers spend an average of eight hours per day at work? We wake up, hop in our cars, step into the office, sit down, barely take a break all day, hop back in the car and head home again. The ease of this type of day can quickly lead to health problems and complacency. Chances are you are sitting down right now looking at your computer screen or down at your mobile phone.

A recent study by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that sitting for long periods of time can lead to an earlier death in women. In particular from causes such as cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The study looked at over 92,000 women, and followed up respondents after 12 years. The study concluded that women that had recorded a more sedentary lifestyle had a greater morality rate.

The study also found that even women who were working out moderately but still sitting for long periods of time had an increased morality rate. So where does this finding put the humble office worker? “Each of these behaviours is important and has an independent effect on cardiovascular disease and mortality.” Says Dr. JoAnn Manson chief of preventive medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Meaning if you exercise and still sit down for long periods of time, you’re still likely to have a higher chance of dying earlier than someone that moves around during the day.

As sitting down is an independent action, there a couple of reasons why it may lead to an increase in morality. Dr Mason says “many times when people are sitting, what are they doing? They’re often watching TV and snacking”. Or they are sitting slouching at their desks, not taking breaks, and not moving from the same position all day. This means that our activities at our desks or on our couches could also be affecting the morality rate found.

So what can we do to help?

The Heart Foundation suggests that workplaces conduct effective health programs and health assessments to help improve the health and wellbeing of their employees. They are encouraged to make changes in the workplace which have also been found to decrease absenteeism and increase productivity in the business.

A health assessment can help to determine where an employee’s nutrition, fitness levels, and health concerns are at. They can also help keep employees accountable and see the true results of a workplace fitness program once implemented. Measurements, statistics, goals, concerns, food intake and other necessary information is all recorded during the assessment. Then a workplace fitness program is implemented to help improve staff health and wellbeing.

Providing a health assessment for employees can also serve as a lending hand to help change a sedentary lifestyle. It is important to take breaks during the day, get up, walk around, take a fitness class during the work day, do stretches, and sit correctly when you do.

A good corporate health company will be able to provide a thorough health assessment and make recommendations moving forward. Although the study mentioned was American we can learn from the statistics. If we get more Australian businesses coming on board with promoting a healthy and active workplace we can help to decrease premature morality rates. If you require a health assessment or any health and fitness program for your Perth business, contact Active Health Promotion today.

Thanks for reading,

Adam Kelly & Active Health Promotion Team

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