Combating “Sitting Syndrome”
Standing Desks? Here Are 3 Better Ways to Combat “Sitting Syndrome”
Once upon a time, most Americans lived and worked on farms. Today, most of us work at a desk. And you’ve probably heard how sedentary jobs are linked to shorter lifespans.
“Standing desks” are the latest fad to combat this problem. But they’re not a good answer. Today, I’ll show you why. And reveal 3 better answers to “sitting syndrome.”
Your ancestors worked hard. And they had to take in a lot of calories. In fact, they needed up to twice the calories we do today. Men living in the 1850’s needed up to 4,500 – 5,000 calories a day.
In spite of eating twice as much as we need today, obesity was rare in the 1850’s. Only the rich could afford to eat more than they needed.
Today, we sit a lot, so we burn a lot fewer calories. Plus, high-calorie foods are cheap. As a result, Americans eat an average of 50% more calories a day than we need. According to Britain’s Daily Mail, we take in about 3,770 calories a day.1 And the guideline is only 2,400 for a healthy man.
So we’re taking in almost as many calories as our ancestors who harvested wheat by hand with a scythe. Except we’re sitting at a desk all day. No wonder office work is so deadly!
That’s why some people think standing desks are the answer. Stand up, and you’ll burn more calories. You’ll even move a bit more.
But it’s always dangerous to jump at the first idea that comes along. For example, standing burns slightly more calories than sitting, but it also makes your heart work harder. And not necessarily in a good way.
A recent Canadian study also found standing all day at work offered no more benefit than working out for a total of 2 hours a week.2 In other words, just 20 minutes of moderate activity 6 days a week.
Standing all day is hard on your muscles and your back. Especially if you’re overweight. And standing vs. sitting makes almost no difference in calories burned.
“Standing desks” are expensive. They cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars each. And the benefits are dubious. There’s simply no replacement for moving.
So here are three ideas to help you beat sitting syndrome.
1. Pedal. Researchers at the University of Iowa (UI) tested a device most people write off as a gimmick.
You know those little peddle devices designed to slip under your desk or sit in front of your chair while you watch TV? It turns out they’re not such a bad idea after all.
When UI scientists gave these simple devices to “desk jockeys” most of them used them. Most of them liked them. And most of them decided to keep them at the end of the study.
In the end, the average desk worker “cycled” 50 minutes a day.3 That’s 4x more workout time than what matched the benefits of using a standing desk. And these devices start at around $25.00.
2. Get the App. If you own a smartphone, you have office fitness available at your fingertips. The rise of smartphone apps has spawned a multitude of simple office workout apps.
Prices for these apps range from free to a few dollars. But not all are created equal. Stretching is good… but not the best for combating the effects of a sedentary job. Look for apps featuring bursts of intensive exercise – such as jumping jacks.
Several news organizations have done comparisons that should help you choose the app that’s right for you.
3. The K.I.S.S. Plan. “Keep It Simple.” If you’re self-motivated, all you may need is your own desire to live a long, healthy life. In that case, here are a few easy ideas for beating the effects of sitting syndrome…
• If your building is multi-level, take the stairs wherever you go. If you don’t have to move around the office for your work, start every break and lunch period with a trip or two up and down the stairs.
• Find an open space and bring a jump rope to work. Jumping rope works for champion boxers, and it’ll work for you, too.
• Do squats, jumping jacks, and desk push-ups every couple of hours. Put enough effort into it that you can’t quite talk comfortably.
Stand-up desks may not be living up to their promise… but you can still stay healthier, even if you have a sit-down job.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Peppers, M., ” Daily calorie intake of countries across the world revealed… and (surprise) the U.S. tops the list at 3,770 ,” MailOnline. Aug 12, 2014.
2 Lotz, D. ” Sitting at work is bad, but is standing actually better? ” Boston Globe. Nov 3, 2014.
3 Diedrich, S., ” Work, pedal, and be healthy ,” IowaNow. Aug 7, 2015.
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