You likely have a life-threatening case of “sitting disease.”
According to a National Health and Nutrition study we sit, on average, 7.7 hours a day. A sedentary lifestyle shortens your life expectancy in multiple ways. Gretchen Reynolds, the Phys Ed columnist for The New York Times talked to us about the harmful things that happen inside our bodies as we sit for long hours without interruption.
“First, muscles slacken and your spine bows. Because muscles are the body's major consumer of blood sugar, if you aren't using those muscles, you start to get a build-up of blood sugar, after which both blood sugar and insulin levels are out of whack, and you have the early makings of type 2 diabetes.”
The news isn’t any better for people who work out. The study found that the negative effects of sitting are just as strong in people who exercise regularly. Despite the fact that we don’t have the time and patience to go to the gym more, it wouldn’t save us anyway. The solution, fortunately, is simple: stand more.
One high-end option is treadmill desks that allow you to stand, break a sweat and burn a lot of calories while working. While this may be a somewhat practical alternative for someone who works from home, it's dangerous and pricey. A treadmill desk such as the Woodway DeskMill would set you back roughly $12,000.
There are also hybrid desks that you can adjust for both sitting and standing. These too, however, come at a price. The cheapest alternative is to get creative and rig your desk for standing room. I reinvented my desk at home by propping my laptop up with stacked shoeboxes and books.
To calculate the benefits of simply standing more, JustStand.org provides a calculator to figure out how many extra calories you will burn by sitting less. For instance, if you weigh 160 pounds, and stand instead of sit throughout an eight-hour workday, you’ll burn 294 additional calories a day.
The benefits of standing more are shocking. If you can reduce your sitting to less than three hours a day it adds over two years to your life expectancy and will boost your overall quality of life.