*Susie Whitney – One of the worst things many lawyers can do – along with many others in sedentary lifestyles – is to fail to take steps to ‘move the body’ and avoid prolonged periods of sitting on what can be an increasingly sizable backside.
It’s difficult to avoid when so many of us and so much of working time is sitting in front of a computer, but it can also create some major, long-term health problems.
It’s not the being seated that creates or causes the problem – it’s doing it for too long.
In fact, figures show that the typical office worker may spend up to an incredible 15 hours per day sitting, compared to those who undertake manual or agricultural work and so forth who may only spend three hours a day seated. And that difference can see the latter group burn as much as 1000 calories more a day than the sedentary worker.
And that is a huge difference, with huge health issues attached.
Burning calories. Remember that you don’t need to be exercising vigorously to burn calories, you can do so by just walking, standing and other, relatively passive activity.
This energy expenditure through these activities is known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) and the lack of it can be a key factor in creating or contributing to weight gain.
Sedentary behaviour severely limits the calories you burn through NEAT.
Additional Health Concerns. Sedentary behaviour is also consistently linked to more than 30 chronic diseases and conditions, including 112 per cent increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes, and a 147 per cent increase in heart disease risk.
A recent review of 47 studies found that prolonged sitting was strongly linked to negative health outcomes, regardless of exercise levels.
Those are big figures when it comes to your health.
Insulin resistance, which is a key driver of type 2 diabetes, has been a particular area of interest for those researching sedentary behaviour with studies that have shown walking fewer than 1500 steps a day or simply sitting for long periods without reducing your intake of calories can create a major increase in insulin resistance.
But intense exercise to ‘compensate’ for prolonged periods at your desk is not the answer either. When the entire day is spent sitting, one hour of intense exercise cannot make up for the negative effects of inactivity.
Make sure that at least every hour you get up from your desk and walk, albeit in short burst and in short distances. Just move yourself.
And if you just want to stretch, then do that too. It will be far better for you than doing nothing, I guarantee.
At lunch time, take a walk or exercise away from the desk, even if you’re planning a trial, thinking about some M&A deal or anything else – believe me you’ll be better for it.
And watch your diet. Don’t snack or over-snack. Eat some nuts and drink water but don’t snack on sugary rubbish when you’re sitting at your desk.
So get up and walk, move, stretch and ensure you take time away from your desk, no matter how much you have to do. Because no work is worth jeopardizing your health when very simple steps to alter your daily routine can make you more healthy, and more productive.
*Susie Whitney is a health and lifestyle blogger who writes on a variety of health and lifestyle issues for LawFuel and other publications and who blogs at BurnFatPlan.com