Blog By: Aishwarya Ghumekar
Recent research has shed light on the dangers of sitting for prolonged periods of time, putting even those who exercise regularly in the at-risk category. But before you start patting yourself on the back for getting regular exercise and getting up and moving during the day, you’re not off the hook either. The latest research suggests just how much sitting it takes to negatively affect your health – and the findings are eye-opening for anyone with a desk job.
Researchers found that every hour of sitting increases your coronary artery calcification burden by 14 percent.
That sounds pretty bad, but what does it mean exactly? This calcification – a marker of heart disease that can increase heart attack risk – shows how much calcium the plaques within the arteries of the heart contain. Over time, these plaques accumulate, causing the arteries to narrow, eventually leading to coronary artery disease.
Even more disheartening, the study found no connection between this calcification and exercise, suggesting that hitting the gym after a nine-hour workday may not be able to combat the negative effects of a sedentary job. Plus, additional research published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology revealed that even standing isn’t enough to offset health risks associated with sitting for prolonged periods of time.
Luckily, the study did show that incorporating an extra two minutes of light-intensity activity (like walking) per hour may offset the health risks of prolonged sitting, showing a 33 percent decrease in death risk. These findings remind those of us who spend hours behind a desk how crucial it is to make a conscious effort to incorporate more movement into the day.
Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get up and moving at work:
Keep a pair of sneakers at the office.
Skip email and walk to a colleague’s desk.
Schedule walking meetings.
Pace during phone calls.
Set reminders on your phone or calendar to get up and walk.
Wear a pedometer and set a goal for yourself to encourage more steps throughout the day.
Be conscious of what you do after-hours: Don’t go home and sit in front of the TV, do something active.
Your Move More Plan
8:45 a.m.: Park a block away from the office or get off the train/bus one stop early.
9:00 a.m.: Walk the long way to the water cooler to fill up your water bottle.
10:00 a.m.: Ditch the chairs and make your team meeting a walking meeting.
11:00 a.m.: Pace for a 5-minute phone call.
12:00 p.m.: Take a 20-minute lunch break and walk around the neighborhood.
1:00 p.m.: Walk the long way to the water cooler to refill your water bottle.
2:00 p.m.: Take a 5 to 10 minute walk around the block for a cup of coffee.
3:00 p.m.: Have a 5 to 10 minute walking meeting with a colleague.
4:00 p.m.: Pace for another 5-minute phone call.
5:00 p.m.: Walk back to your car or mass transportation.