Let's start with a pre-emptive apology. We already know January is miserable enough without us adding to it. But during the winter months when it's easier to eat al-desko, here's something that made us want to jog around the block.
Apparently, British office workers spend the equivalent of five years of their lives sat at their desk without getting up.
We knew we were lazy and resistant to leaving our cosy, warm burrows, but even we didn't know it was that bad. And with news that being sedentary is slowly killing us, it may be time to take it seriously.
CBS New York recently reported: "A number of studies have shown that prolonged sitting is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and even early death."
The research by Sanlam Private Investments shows that on average, office workers spend 55% of their working day sat down with almost 60% saying they don’t even take a lunch break and instead eat at their desk.
That doesn't mean we're active bunnies once we leave, either. Apparently, 47% do less than an hour of exercise a week and nearly half blame work for this. Almost a quarter (24%) surveyed can’t fit any exercise into their working day and say it’s too late by the time they get home to do it.
As a result, 52% are worried about their weight, only 31% are the right weight for their height, 30% say they have worrying stress levels and 53% fear for their health.
RedOrbit.com quoted Dr David Coven, a cardiologist at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center as saying: “Smoking certainly is a major cardiovascular risk factor, and sitting can be equivalent in many case. The fact of being sedentary causes factors to happen in the body that are very detrimental.”
How much time do you spend at your desk?
It Ups Diabetes Risk
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/05/sitting-too-long-diabetes-risk_n_917220.html" target="_hplink">Back in October,</a> researchers from the University of Missouri published results suggesting that sitting throughout most of the day may put individuals at higher risk for diabetes, obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease -- even if you clear time for daily exercise.
It Increases Your Overall Death Risk
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/24/sitting-too-long-death_n_884152.html" target="_hplink">As HuffPost editor Amanda Chan reported back in June,</a> a study in the <em>American Journal of Epidemiology</em> found that women who sat six or more hours a day were nearly 40 percent more likely to die over a 13-year-stretch than those who sat less than three hours. As for men? Sitting for more than six hours was linked with an 18-percent higher risk of death.
Just A Few Mins (In Front Of the Tube) Takes A Toll
An <a href="http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2011/08/01/bjsm.2011.085662" target="_hplink">August study from the <em>British Journal of Sports Medicine</em></a> found that every hour you sit in front of the TV, you can slash your life expectancy by nearly 22 minutes. And watching the tube for six hours a day? That type of seriously sedentary behavior can cut your life expectancy <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/17/1-hour-of-tv-lifespan-22-minutes_n_929321.html" target="_hplink">by five years. </a>
It's Linked With Cancer
<a href="http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/03/8616170-if-youre-sitting-down-you-may-be-increasing-your-cancer-risk" target="_hplink">As MSNBC reported,</a> sitting may be responsible for more than 170,000 cases of cancer yearly -- with breast and colon cancers being the most influenced by rates of physical activity (and inactivity). But according to that article, a little bit of walking can go a long way. "For many of the most common cancers, it seems like something as simple as a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day can help reduce cancer risk," Christine Friedenreich, an epidemiologist with Alberta Health Services <a href="http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/03/8616170-if-youre-sitting-down-you-may-be-increasing-your-cancer-risk" target="_hplink">told MSNBC.</a>
It Makes Your Bottom Bigger
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/12/05/sitting-down-makes-your-bottom-bigger-say-experts_n_1129377.html" target="_hplink">As our UK compatriots recently wrote,</a> researchers have found that putting pressure on certain body parts (i.e., your bottom) can produce up to 50 percent more fat than usual. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/12/05/sitting-down-makes-your-bottom-bigger-say-experts_n_1129377.html" target="_hplink">HuffPost UK reported:</a> "In a bid to explain why sedentary behaviour causes weight-gain, scientists believe that the precursors to fat cells turn into flab (and end up producing more) when subjected to prolonged periods of sitting down, otherwise known as 'mechanical stretching loads.'"
It Could Raise Your Heart Attack Risk
Not too long ago, <a href="http://health.yahoo.net/experts/menshealth/most-dangerous-thing-youll-do-all-day" target="_hplink"><em>Men's Health</em> covered a study</a> in the journal <em>Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise</em>, in which researchers from Louisiana found that people who sit for the majority of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of a heart attack. <a href="http://health.yahoo.net/experts/menshealth/most-dangerous-thing-youll-do-all-day" target="_hplink">Indeed, the investigators found</a> that sitting was an independent risk factor for serious cardiovascular events.
Stand Up with Us If You want to Live
Yet another study shows sitting too much is simply unhealthy. It found those who sat for more than 11 hours a day were 40 percent more likely to die in the next three years than those who sat less than four hours per day.