If you work an office job, chances are you sit for hours each day. You may notice at the end of the day that you feel exhausted even though you did not exert a lot of physical energy. Sitting all day takes an extremely hard toll on your body. The human body is designed for movement. Our many joints and muscles thrive on movement, and many of our bodily functions require movement to work properly.
In short, if we allow ourselves to remain inactive and sedentary for ten hours in a day, we are depriving our bodies of their ability to operate at full speed. Take heart function, for example. When you are sitting still, your blood flows slower and your muscles burn less fat. Without the natural burning of fat, it becomes easier for our arteries to become clogged around our heart and lead to possibly serious heart complications. Considering heart disease is the second-leading cause of death in Canada, improving heart health should be a priority, especially as you approach your golden years.
Sedentary Jobs Are Dangerous
Falling into the trap of eating lunch at your desk, not getting up to stretch your legs, and being glued to your chair for your entire work day can be very dangerous to your health. Consider that you will also likely be sitting for your commute to and from work and that is a lot of time spent not moving.
Exercise May Not Even Combat the Dangers of Long-Term Sitting
Studies have shown that if you sit for ten hours a day and exercise for one hour a day, it is not enough to counteract the ill effects of sitting. So the time spent at the gym after work, although is still a very healthy choice, cannot combat all of the damage caused by remaining seated for the bulk of the day.
What Can You Do?
Get up and walk around as frequently as possible. Deliver your own interoffice mail, or make a point of walking around your office as you are thinking or on the phone instead of leaning back in your chair. Whatever you can think of to get yourself moving.
Get a standing desk. Standing desks allow you to step from side to side and move around your desk instead of swiveling in a chair and never having to stand up.
Drink as much water as possible. Water intake is an important part of any daily routine, but if you drink more water than you normally would your body will process it and cause you to go to the washroom more frequently. This is good because it gets you up and walking. Even if it’s just a short trip to the washroom five times a day, it is at least breaking the habit of sitting all day.
There is plenty of research that shows how inactivity can be harmful to your body. Only 15% of Canadians meet the minimum exercise standard. Don’t let your busy work day cause damage to your health, take matters into your own hands and get your feet moving.
 Statistics Canada, 2011.
 Statistics Canada, Canadian Health Measures Survey.