Sure, sitting behind the office desk for longer periods of time may increase your productivity, and even give you that much-needed raise. But do you know that this sitting-at-the-desk lifestyle can be killing you?
Studies show that prolonged sitting can raise your risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. That's because your body stays in one place for a long time, and the sedentary lifestyle is keeping you from moving and exercising for good health.
A new study gives us one more reason to get up every so often from that office chair. A cohort study on 69,795 Korean men who did not have Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) at the start of the research showed that prolonged sitting time and a sedentary lifestyle had harmful effects on health. Majority of the men in the study developed LUTS.
The researchers arrived at this conclusion by monitoring the health of the study participants on an annual and biennial basis for 2.6 years. The scientists analyzed the men's physical activity level and sitting time using the validated Korean version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire Short Form. The incidence of LUTS was assessed via the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS).
Standing Desk -- This is the most popular alternative to the seated-desk lifestyle so far. A 2013 study showed that those who use standing desks burned as many as 50 more calories an hour -- the equivalent of running 10 marathons a year minus the cardiovascular bonuses -- than those who did not. A 2014 review of 23 studies on standing and treadmill desks showed that standing desks brought physiological and psychological benefits. To maximize the benefits of this kind of desk, stand up straight, and don't hunch. Distribute your weight distributed equally on both feet. Your feet should be a hip-distance apart. Never lock your knees, and don't let your weight shift on one hip for a long time. Your keyboard should be elbow height. Your monitor should be at the same level as your face.
Variable-Height Desk -- This Transformer-type desk lets you change the height of your desk from sitting to standing, which is good, since spending hours on either position is unhealthy. But variable-height desks are costly. The less-expensive kind usually take more time to raise and lower. If time and money present certain issues, you can suggest community standing desks for the office instead. To use the variable-height desk properly, sit with your back straight or lean back a bit. Keep your feet flat on the floor, elbows by your side, wrists on the desk and your eyes looking straight ahead at the monitor. (Related: Too much time sitting causes body fat to accumulate around your organs, increasing risk of disease.)
Stability-Ball Chair -- While you can still use a standard stability ball, you'll need a base and a back to keep you from falling off. This will also support your back completely and remind you to maintain good posture. The instability of the exercise ball, slightly stimulates your abdominal muscles and hip flexors. Some people even experienced less back pain after shifting from the usual office chair to the stability ball. Others love bouncing around to get those creative juices flowing. The stability-ball chair is not for those with incorrect posture, however. It will wreak havoc on their lower back. You also have to make sure the chair is properly inflated to ensure proper spinal alignment. Your stability-ball chair must put you at the correct height. Your hips and knees should be at 90-degree angles, your feet flat on the floor. Your desk should be elbow height and you shouldn't sit too low on it.
Now you have no more reasons to stay seated in your office chair for too long. There are many alternative chairs that can keep you productive and more importantly, healthy as well.