A body at rest – and particularly the legs – experiences less blood circulation. Furthermore, the blood uses less sugar and burns less fat. Consequently, those who work in a seated position all day long run a 112% greater risk of diabetes and a 147% increased likelihood of suffering from heart attack and stroke than physically active workers, according to a study by the University Leicester (2014).
One of the most common ailments among office workers is that of eye disorders. Dry eyes, eyestrain, blurred vision, headaches, and other problems are related to computer use. It is known as the Computer Vision Syndrome. In fact, the computer does not damage the eyes, but rather exhausts them.
Physical inactivity is associated with many cancers, such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer. We're talking about thousands of cases each year in Canada. Endometrial and ovarian cancers also more frequently affect sedentary persons. It is thought that insulin is responsible.
Seated workers are likely to suffer from back problems: muscle tension, herniated disc, lower back strain, etc. This is even more likely for people who adopt a poor sitting position, in which case the back is called upon to compensate.
When you spend more than 6 hours a day sitting at a desk, you increase by a factor of three the risk of psychological distress, compared with people who spend three hours or less seated. Prolonged sitting posture is also associated with a higher risk of depression, concentration problems, fatigue, and headaches.
The more you sit, the less you force your body to work. Your abs weaken, your waistline thickens, and your metabolism slows. After only a single day of prolonged sitting, the body's response to insulin decreases. The latter is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps the body use glucose, thus controlling its level in the blood. The pancreas reacts by producing an excessive amount of insulin!
5 Tips to Move More at Work
1. Go out for a walk every day during your lunch hour. As a bonus, you will return with more energy and focus to finish the day.
2. Find a place to have your lunch that is about a fifteen-minute walk from your place of work (a restaurant, park, riverside, public building, etc.).
3. Take advantage of telephone conversations to move around. Get up, pace around, stand on your tiptoes for several minutes. You can also grab a book or a bottle filled with water (one litre of water = one kilogram) and do strength exercises for your wrists and arms.
4. Get into the habit of doing exercises while you're sitting at the computer: abdominal and back contractions, shoulder rotation, stretches, etc.
5. Replace the coffee break with a stretching break. You can find some exercise ideas at this website.
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