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Prolonged sitting has been called the “new smoking”.

It doesn’t matter if you sit at a desk, in the car or on the couch, you could be at risk. Berkowitz & Clarke for the Washington Post interviewed some people with an interest in the detrimental health effects of prolonged sitting and this is what they found:

1. Heart:

Those who spend most of their days sitting are twice as likely to get cardiovascular disease as those who don’t. More specifically, prolonged sitting has been linked to high blood pressure and elevated

2. Cancer:

Studies have linked prolonged sitting to a greater risk of colon, breast and endometrial cancers. This is believed to be due to increased insulin spikes and fewer anti oxidants as a result of sitting.

3. Brain:

When you move less, i.e. when you sit, less oxygen rich blood is pumped around your body. This leads to your brain and other organs slowing down making it harder to concentrate.

4. Neck:

Constantly sitting and working at a computer can crane your neck forward. Over time this can lead to straining of the cervical vertebrae and lead to a permanent imbalance

5. Back:

Prolonged sitting can compress discs unevenly leading to less flexibility in the spine.

Meanwhile, Australian researchers reported:

6. Diabetes:

Insulin effectiveness drops 24% when you sit for prolonged periods, increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes (Dunstan et al. 2012).

 

What to do if you have a desk job?

 

1. Get up and walk around every twenty minutes

2. Undertake standing or walking meetings

3. Invest in a product that can turn your table into a standing desk

An Australian GP, Dr Peter Moore has created ZestDesk, a product that can turn any table into a standing desk. They currently have a special running where you can get up to 40% off. Find out more here.

• Berkowitz, B & Clarke P 2014, “The health hazards of sitting”, The Washington Post, Jan 20, 2014, link to article

• Dunstan, D, Howard, B, Healy, G, Owen, N, 2012 “Too much sitting – A health hazard”, Diabetes research and clinical practice link to journal