Move more at work

June 30, 2014

by Fran Melmed


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Say goodbye to coffee shops or conference rooms and hello to the pavement. Moving while working? Now that’s the way to get things done.


Unbroken hours spent seated in a chair hurt our bodies in a way that even regular visits to the gym or a 5K weekend run can’t fix. One of the earliest studies to investigate the risks of “sitting disease” occurred in the 1940s, when a Scottish epidemiologist discovered conductors were at lower risk for coronary heart disease than their bus-driving colleagues. Morris and his team found similar results when they expanded the study and compared postal delivery workers to sedentary postal clerks.


Since Morris’ time, more and more research links sitting for uninterrupted periods of time—the kind of sitting we experience at work and while commuting—with two times greater risk of diabetes, a 90 percent greater risk of cardiovascular disease, and a 49 percent greater risk of death, among other conditions and diseases. It’s this research that drives the media buzz about how our jobs are killing us.


The good news is that we have choices when it comes to death by chair. To quote Dr. James Levine, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist credited with developing the concept of the treadmill desk: “There are solutions to chair-associated ill health that range from population-wide gym attendance, pharmacological administration, or genetic manipulation. Alternatively, people could get up".


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