The desk job has become the norm in America and across most of the Western world. Many of us are virtually chained to our desks, working on our computers, answering emails, teleconferencing and doing Skype meetings. For most, the only reason to get up out of our chairs is to take a quick bathroom break, and then it’s back to the desk to type up that report or send out that follow-up e-mail. According to a poll of 6,300 people by the Institute for Medicine and Public Health, Americans spend an average of 56 hours each week just sitting. That’s up by eight percent in the last twenty years. We are also contending with longer commutes to work, leaving us sitting in our car fighting traffic for longer periods of time each day, and causing us to be more sedentary than ever before. But it’s not just our jobs that encourage all this sedentary behavior; it’s also what we do when we are off work.
Television, or as my father so fondly called it, the “boob tube,” has been a favorite after-work pastime since the 1950s. Today, Americans spend 151 hours every month watching television, and most of that time is spent sitting down. Each year the entertainment industry is coming up with more and more reasons for us to have a seat and enjoy an ever-widening variety of entertainment options. My satellite provider boasts more than 250 channels including music, sports and movies along with all the network and cable offerings. That’s more than enough to keep the average American glued to the couch almost every night of the week. With websites like Hulu you can stream current and past TV shows at your convenience; add to that video games, social networking sites like Facebook, My Space, Twitter and LinkedIn, and you can see why many of us seem to be growing roots from our butts deep into the couch. What’s the big deal you say? So we spend a little more time sitting around. It can’t be that bad for us can it? The answer to that question is yes it can, and the harm isn’t just what it does to your physical health but also the cost to you, your employer and the overall economy. Is your chair killing you and the business you work for? All the latest research says yes.
Inactivity, stress and poor nutrition cause lifestyle diseases that cause more than 300,000 premature deaths, and cost 90 billion dollars in direct health care costs annually, and this doesn’t take into account the costs of lowered productivity in the workplace, increased insurance rates and missed workdays caused by illnesses related to inactivity, stress and poor nutrition. But how do we avoid these costs? The official Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and recommendations for exercise to keep us healthy may not be enough, and most of us have trouble even fitting these minimum recommendations into our busy schedules. On the surface this all sounds like very bad news. I mean, if doing 30 to 60 minutes of exercise isn’t enough, then what are you supposed to do? You have to work, but your job has you stuck at your desk. You work hard all day and when you get home you need to unwind and relax. Let’s face it, it’s enough to make you want to throw up your hands and scream “I quit!” And at times it feels like you may as well just dig a hole and jump in. But have no fear, there is hope! In the book Is Your Chair Killing You? we will show you how to be healthier in as little as 8 minutes a day. Tons of helpful hints to get you more active and more productive in your everyday life.
To learn how to improve your health and the health of your business read Is Your Chair Killing You? to get your copy click here.