You may have seen a recent article published by Runner’s World which illustrates just how your 9 to 5 desk job is affecting your health. We’ve all heard it before – sitting is killing us. But as a runner, this article really hit home. According to the article, for every hour you sit, the positive health benefits of your 60 minute morning run diminish by 8%. If you don’t believe it, read the Mayo Clinic study results here.
60 minutes of running, considered “vigorous exercise” is 80% gone after a 10 hour work day. Worse, if you engage in exercise considered “moderate” in intensity, the effects are worse – 16% per hour. Kind of depressing, huh? The study focused primarily on increased disease risk, arguing that although running helps prevent heart disease, for example, sitting negates those benefits. It did not address whether or not your desk job is reducing the hard-earned fitness gains that us runners covet. In fact, most advice regarding recovery from hard training sessions suggests that the more rest post-workout, the better.
Although I’m thankful the article didn’t also claim that a desk job reduces fitness gains from workouts as well, this article was especially relevant to me as I have been putting in quite a few more hours than normal at my desk these last few weeks. 10-11 hours at work is basically taking away the health benefits I’m getting from my 7-10 hours of exercise a week. It’s pretty insane to think about!
The good news is, I am not exactly a sedentary worker. The combination of my unusually large water consumption, unusually small bladder and massive appetite mean that I’m getting up from my desk more than once an hour to refill said water bottle, empty said bladder or fill my stomach. In addition to that, I’ll hit up the printer, walk over to a co-workers desk or my boss’s office to ask a question and in general am quite active. Despite this, reading this article has encouraged me to use my stand up desk more often! I have a normal desk on one side of my cubicle and a stank up desk on the other. The problem is, I have my 2 monitors hooked up to my lap top on my sitting desk and if I were to switch to work at the standing desk I’d some productivity as I tried to work on a tiny screen. As a compromise, I’m going to try to do anything non-computer related at the standing desk and print out documents to review on on paper more often.
Outside of work and working out, I am also pretty active as I make my lunch every morning and cook dinner every night (Mike makes the breakfast!). I regularly take walks and don’t watch a lot of TV. I’m sure these things all help as well.
In case you aren’t as convinced as I am that it’s time to get off your butt more while at work, here’s a couple sections of an infographic I found that illustrates just how terrible all that sitting is! Worst stat: Sitting 6+ hours a day makes you 40% likelier to die within 15 years than someone who sits less than 3 hours day.
Do you have a desk job? How long do you sit without walking around?