Is your office safe? Look around. Do you see lots of people sitting for long stretches of time? If so, then a group of Australian scientists would say that you’re in unsafe territory!
While these [sitting desks] have traditionally been thought of as safe work environments, recent evidence (including meta-analyses) suggests this mode of work — often involving long uninterrupted periods of sitting — may be hazardous, contributing substantially to the growing chronic disease burden associated with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
They also note the separate risks associated with physical inactivity and sedentary time:
Both physical inactivity and sedentary time have an impact on health. Physical inactivity is estimated to account for 5.5% of all-cause premature mortality, and excessive sitting time, after adjusting for physical activity, accounts for 5.9%
With all of the evidence on the dangers of sitting, the authors argue that employers who are obligated to create safe work environments may be falling behind if they do not offer alternatives to sitting for long periods of time. They contend that doctors also should consider prescribing activity and active working stations to their patients:
A doctor who is aware that a patient has a prolapsed disc in the spine would require the patient to refrain from lifting heavy objects at work. In the same way, a doctor who is aware that a patient’s cardiovascular condition necessitates remaining active and avoiding excessive sedentary exposure should inform the patient and employer of the need for the patient to regularly move to maintain well being.
If you’ve been looking for something to help convince your boss that you need an adjustable desk or treadmill desk, this article might be just the ticket!