Work At A Computer? This Ergonomic Tip Could Save Your Life
What’s more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting?
The answer? Sitting.
Yes, you read that right. Turns out, sitting is deadly.
But, don’t worry. If you are one of the approximately 70% of Americans with a desk job, all is not lost. Today, I’m going to share with you the one ergonomic tip that could potentially save your life, and do a bunch of other good stuff for you too.
Are you ready to find out what that one tip is? Great! Let’s get to it.
Americans Sit…A Lot
And by a lot I mean, well…a lot.
Actually, when you add up all the time we spend sitting at work, sitting in our cars, sitting down to a meal, watching TV, etc, it adds up to a whopping 13 hours a day, give or take, worth of sitting. Crazy, right?
So, We Sit A Lot. What’s The Big Deal?
Well, as it turns out, we humans aren’t really meant to sit. At least not for 13 hours a day. Researchers are now finding that all this sitting is actually really, really bad for us. As a matter of fact, it’s now recognized that sitting is more dangerous to your health than smoking.
Wait! Hit the breaks. Did I just say smoking? Yes, you read that right. Sitting is more dangerous to your health than smoking.
Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative says and I quote, “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”
“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.” ~Dr. James Levine
The Effects Of Sitting On Our Health
Research also shows that prolonged sitting increases the risk of some pretty serious diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even depression.
One study from the American Journal of Epidemiology even found that men who sit six or more hours per day are 50% more likely to die from a chronic disease compared to those who sit three hours or less. That’s for sitting only six hours! Or, less than half the daily average of 13!
I mean, wow! Did that just hit you like a ton of bricks? It sure did me. I mean, here I am, typing up this blog post on how bad sitting is and what am I doing??? Sitting! Ahhhhhhh.
But wait. It gets worse. The comparison of smoking to sitting can actually be brought further. Just as with smoking, studies continue to show that the effects of sitting are, get this, not reversible. Nope. Not even regular exercise or healthy eating can undo the damage created from a long day of sitting. Scary huh?
Fortunately, there is hope. It’s not too late to reclaim your health and combat the negative effects of sitting. And that, ladies and gentleman, brings us to what you have all been waiting for.
The One Ergonomic Tip That Could Save Your Life…And Do A Bunch Of Other Good Stuff For You Too
Let me be clear and repeat this incase you didn’t catch it earlier. Sitting is bad. And just as with smoking, the only way to really avoid the ill effects of sitting is to, well…not sit.
But, Jeremy, I hear you saying. I have to sit. I can’t drive my car to work standing! And what am I supposed to do, stand the whole day at work!?!? Well, no. Both of those ideas are bad as well…although the thought of someone driving to work with their head sticking out of the sun roof is kind of funny. So, what do you do?
Things like stand-up desks can help some, although static standing (standing in one place) for too long comes with its own set of problems.
Nope. What I’m recommending requires you to purchase nothing or redesign anything. What I’m recommending is to…are you ready for it…get up out of your chair more. That’s it! Getting up off your rear-end regularly will help keep your juices flowing and lessen the negative effects of sitting.
Sounds easy right? Unfortunately, even this simple piece of advice is easier said than done. Sit down at your desk to start your work day and suddenly two hours have gone by without you getting out of your chair once. The trick then is to somehow “make” yourself have to get out of the chair on a somewhat regular basis. How? I’m glad you asked.
How To Successfully Implement This One Ergonomic Tip
The trick again is to make yourself actually have to get out of your chair. The best way to do this? By purposely placing items away from your desk that you tend to use intermittently…say 3 to 4 times per hour.
For example, if you use the phone just a few times an hour, try purposely placing it away from your desk so you actually have to get up to use it. Or, if filing paperwork is something you do occasionally, then move your filing cabinet away from your work-space so you actually have to get out of the chair to file the paperwork.
Are you seeing a theme here?
Using a printer that is positioned away from your desk is another easy, yet effective, method for forcing you to get out of your chair.
Why This Tip Works
The best thing about these examples is that they actually work.
If the phone rings and your job is to answer it, you’ll get our of your chair to do so regardless of what’s going on in front of you. Similarly, if you need to retrieve something off a printer positioned across the room, you really have no choice but to get up to go get it. There is no, “I’ll do it later.”
Other methods such as setting an alarm to go off every 15 minutes are less effective because it’s too easy to ignore the alarm if your busy. And honestly, it’s a little annoying hearing an alarm go off every 15 minutes.
In addition to perhaps prolonging your life, taking these frequent “mini-breaks” from sitting can also have a positive impact on other areas as well. Frequent breaks have been shown to boost energy levels, increase productivity, enhance creativity, and even increase your ability to problem solve. So really it’s a win, win.
Regardless of what method you use the important thing is to stand up and get moving. Just as with smoking, reducing the amount of time spent sitting even just a little, can have a profound effect on your health.
Do you have any tips or tricks to get yourself out of the chair regularly? Please share.
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