Sitting for hours on end is linked to nine more cancers than we thought, according to the cancer expert who is helping to re-write the exercise guidelines. Charles E Matthews, an epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute, warns we need more physical activity than we thought - but more importantly, we need to sit less.
Just one hour of TV a day puts even the most active of us at a higher risk of not just breast and colon cancer - which we already knew - but also nine other cancers including lung and head or neck.
"Watching TV is the major competitor to going out and being more active," he told the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Austin, Texas. "This is where moderate activity like a brisk walk or things around the house come in. Anything that is not sitting is good."
Now we're not suggesting standing and watching the TV at home but if you've been non-sedentary at work using a standing desk you can afford some rest time watching your favourite TV programme for an hour or so!
Today we dropped off two EIGER Pro Standing Desks to one of the UK's leading employers to trial in their headquarters. They will be used in flexible working areas (hot desks) where most employees are laptop based. This is perfect for the EIGER Pro.
We couldn't believe the size of the car park and it was totally full, implicating that most employees sit down to get to work. The lifts were in full use and every office area we saw was full of inactive computer workers, sat down.
This is the norm but when you see it on such a large scale it's frightening.
When we told a few of the employees they were twice as likely to have a cardio health issue compared to a active manual worker they were shocked. They couldn't believe that the effects of just standing for 3 hours a day over a working year will burn more calories than running 10 marathons!
We've got a good feeling about this company and that active working will be met positively with the help of our EIGER Pro Standing Desk.
UKactive Chair Tanni Grey-Thompson appeared on international news network CNBC to urge the Government to tackle the ‘toxic’ toll of sedentary working cultures by incentivising employees to be active.
The legendary Paralympian and cross-bench peer noted that ‘physical inactivity costs the UK £20bn each year and is the cause of 37,000 premature deaths’ with desk-bound office culture fuelling the mounting inactivity crisis.
Statistics show that sitting at a desk for eight hours a day increases the risk of premature death by up to 60 per cent and is a major cause of a myriad of health problems.
Interviewed on major American news channel CNBC’s mid-morning show, Tanni called on the government to do more to promote workplace physical activity by incentivising active pursuits such as gym passes, fitness equipment and accessories.
Increasingly busy schedules for workers mean it’s tougher than ever to maintain an active lifestyle. Physical inactivity is one of the biggest drivers of ill-health, leading to high absenteeism rates (which cost the UK £29bn a year) and reduced productivity – which all conspire to hit bottom lines.
Tanni also urged the public to try and ‘take on the responsibility to get active’, through small or incremental lifestyle changes. This could be as little as ‘getting off the bus one stop early’ she said, or simply ‘walking between meetings’.
Less time sat at a desk has superb long term health benefits. Standing is a highly effective low level form of activity. So a standing desk makes perfect sense.
Do your job, run your business and improve your health at the same time!
Today we spent the morning with Alex De Palma shooting the all new EIGER Pro Standing Desk in a white screen studio. It's a highly organised affair. Lighting, positioning and a detailed schedule of all the shots we need to showcase the product effectively.
We can't wait to see the results and get them on the website asap!
Your spine is practically begging you to stand. An upright position puts the discs in your lower back in proper alignment and minimizes the pressure they endure. Sitting, on the other hand, forces the vertebrae to crunch down onto each other and put a lot more force, increasing the risk of chronic lower back pain.
When you're sitting, your spine is compressing. In space, you get taller by 1-2 inches, and if you lay in bed, you'll also get taller, because your discs are expanding. But when astronauts return from space or people get out of bed, their vertebrae collapse onto each other and cause pain. This is also happening when you sit for a long period of time.
One big culprit of the pain from a compressed spine is the damage done to the cushioning between the discs.
The muscles have weakened and the vertebrae start collapsing, squeezing the padding and nerves between the discs. This is a huge source of pain.
So less time in the chair and using a standing desk has major benefits for the long term health of your spine.
Ask anyone who has permanent back issues what they’d do to solve them. We guarantee you they’ll reply….anything!
Don’t wait for it to happen before you do anything. Get out of the chair and get standing now!
There is no louder wake up call than hitting middle age. Turning 40 is when most of us begin to question our mortality and take stock of our sedentary, desk-bound lives – and with good reason. In our fourth decade we put on weight more easily, get bigger hangovers, take longer to get fit and recover from injury more slowly. This is when we begin to listen to our bodies and try to avoid the things we know to be bad for us.
If you’re one of those who’ve spent the past decades sitting in front of a workplace computer and in the evening on the sofa drinking wine, you can change. If we live more healthily and exercise regularly, we can enjoy a longer fuller life. Disease is often a problem in our 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. We can do much to prevent it during our 40s.
We can’t slow the aging process, but we can adopt more every day healthy habits and now is the time.
Eat healthy. Walk more. Take the stairs. Lose the chair and get a standing desk. These are just some of the ways to a healthier and happier life.
Aileen Flynn is clinical specialist physiotherapist in musculoskeletal care at the the Beacon Hospital, Sandyford, Dublin. She is also a triathlete. She recently wrote this article for The Irish Times...
Modern life has resulted in many of us adapting to a sedentary lifestyle. If you are desk-bound at work and sit on your journey to and from it, you likely fall into this category.
Sitting, which has been dubbed “the new smoking”, comes with its own risks. It increases load on the spine and discs resulting in slouching, or the loss in the natural curve of the spine. Over time this can cause changes in muscle length and affect the strength and performance of the postural muscles in the spine and shoulders. In turn, this can result in pain and predisposition to injury. Muscles are healthiest when used, so it is no surprise that staying seated for eight or nine hours a day has negative repercussions.
As a chartered physiotherapist, I see many people with postural-related neck and back pain, namely aches and pains that can develop related to sitting, whether it be at a desk or driving. Many of these physical problems can be treated with physiotherapy to relieve the pain in the short-term.
The long-term solution includes advice on correcting posture and finding a solution for sitting or standing in a more efficient way that reduces load on the spine and prevents reoccurrence.
For those who sit at a desk and experience (or would simply like to prevent) neck and back pain, I recommend the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, stand up and focus on a point 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Even this short break will allow your spine to experience some relief and reduced load. It will also allow the small muscles of your eyes to rest, as well as the muscles around your shoulders and neck.
Circling your shoulders, turning your head gently from side to side, and reaching both arms up overhead are other good ways to reduce the negative effects of sitting. Standing desks are also becoming common in the UK workplace, and something I recommend quite regularly for clients.
Health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle include increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer, and depression. The evidence is strong that these risks are greatly reduced by engaging in an active lifestyle.
Active individuals are less likely to have a hip or spinal fracture, and they exhibit higher levels of cardiovascular and muscular fitness. They are also more likely to achieve weight maintenance and have a healthier body mass and composition than sedentary individuals.
Exercising and standing can help reverse the negative effects associated with sitting. The World Health Organisation recommends that 18- to 64-year-olds do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity every week. Alternatively, they can opt for at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
Activity can be easily integrated into daily routines. It should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes and can include transportation, occupational, housework or sports activities.
Edinburgh University recently released information that had some astounding content...middle-aged male office workers spend more time sitting down than pensioners.
Their study found 45 to 54-year-old men spend on average 7.8 hours per weekday sitting down, compared to 7.4 hours for men aged over-75.
Sedentary work is the main reason for the inactivity, with sedentary time (ST) defined as time spent in any waking activity done while sitting or reclined, including working, eating, reading, watching TV or spending time on a computer.
Experts are calling for action to tackle high levels of ST, which has been linked to health risks including cardiovascular disease and type two diabetes. High levels of sedentary time - more than seven hours a day - increases the risk of an early death, cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes and some cancers, even if people are physically active at other times of the day.
Lead researcher Tessa Strain said: "Large parts of the population are dangerously sedentary, something we have underestimated. We need to tackle high levels of sedentary time in early and middle age, when patterns may develop. Our findings suggest that changing habits in the workplace could be an appropriate place to start, given how much time we spend sitting there every day."
A recent review by other researchers found "tentative evidence" to suggest sit-stand desks could reduce work sedentary time, at least in the short term.
Today we dropped off 3 standing desks (a BigJack Manual, a MiniJack and an EIGER Laptop) for a 6 week trial at one of Manchester's largest councils.
The UK workplace is definitely starting to understand the negatives of sedentary behaviour and how standing desks are a significant part of the solution to improve health and well-being.
"We're being asked more and more for solutions around active working and are delighted to trial this range of standing desk solutions" said the Health and Wellbeing Manager.
We'll keep you updated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in America recommend that adults engage in at least 2.5 hours of physical activity per week. The CDC also reports that only 1 in 5 adults get this much physical activity. People who do not get the exercise they need are more likely to die prematurely or develop a range of serious illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some forms of cancer.
Not only do adults not get enough exercise, but teenagers are even worse!
Fewer than 3 in 10 high school students get a minimum of 60 minutes of daily physical activity, which is the level of exercise recommended by both the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Teenagers are at the highest risk of being physically inactive, and in their late teens, this group was likely to get as little exercise as 60 year olds.
Prof. Vadim Zipunnikov commented…"Activity levels at the end of adolescence are alarmingly low, and by age 19, they were comparable to 60-year-olds. For school-age children, the primary window for activity was the afternoon between 2 and 6 p.m. So the big question is how do we modify daily schedules, in schools for example, to be more conducive to increasing physical activity?"
And that’s where we come in. Getting the UK’s children active whilst learning in the classroom using standing desks makes total sense. It both improves both activity levels and brain function. Vitally, it creates a positive habit that is taken into adult life.