Is sitting at work killing you? The biggest work place danger

One of the many reasons I consider myself lucky to be a chiropractor is that I am not confined to a desk for most of the day. Having said that, I have spent more time than usual recently writing blogs and I must say that I really feel my neck and shoulders begin to stiffen up and become quite uncomfortable – lucky I know a chiropractor or two who I regularly call on.

It makes me somewhat more sympathetic to my patients, many of whom sit and stare at a computer for much of the day. Far more shocking though, is the recent data that has been circulating in the media about the effects that sitting at work has on your health. The American Cancer society found that for women, it was found that over a fourteen year trial, those that sat for more than six hours a day were about 40% more likely to die during the course of the study than those that sat for less than three hours. For men the figure was 20%.

Here are some things that you can do minimise the harm to you if you have a sitting job.

  1. Bring your weight to a healthy level. Being obese is another factor that increases your baseline risk for mortality.

  2. If you have the option to use a standing work station for some of the time, this will reduce your sitting hours.

  3. Using a “fit ball” as opposed to a chair may be beneficial to engage core muscles if you must sit at work. Be warned though, this is difficult to do for long periods, especially if your core muscles are not used to the work.

  4. I recommend to all patients that they take a break every 20 -30 minutes. It is better to take regular short breaks of 30 seconds than longer breaks every few hours. As a minimum stand up and stretch and walk up and down the corridor or room.

Whatever your job, where ever you work, have a good look around and think: "What small changes can I make to make a big difference?"