sitting is as bad as smokingWe all know that exercise is essential for keeping workers healthy in both body and mind. And yet in the competitive global marketplace, employers need their employees to devote more time than ever to their jobs, which in turn tends to mean excruciatingly long hours spent sitting behind a desk completing repetitive motions like typing and mousing. We’ve known for years that this has many negative health consequences, including strained muscles and an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome and musculoskeletal disorders.

Recently, however, the research has been finding even more dangerous health consequences than just this. These include an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer and early death. Many of these conditions are associated with a lack of movement, which stagnates blood flow, increases blood sugar levels and may even increase the depositing of plaques in coronary arteries.

The Sum is Greater than the Parts

Sure, exercising before, after or during work can be helpful, but it’s surprisingly not as beneficial as you might think; studies have found that the sum total of sitting hours is really what counts, no matter how much movement you do at other hours of the day.

There are some indications that standing at least for part of the day using an upright desk can mitigate the dangers of sitting, though whether this is due to the standing position itself or to the fact that people tend to move around more when they stand is unclear. Perhaps one of the best bets is to purchase a treadmill desk, pricy as it may be, to keep that blood automatically flowing throughout the day.

There is of course much more to this topic than just this. For a deeper look, we highly recommend reading, Sitting at Work for Hours Can be as Dangerous as Smoking .

Have you experimented with a treadmill desk or with any other alternative ways of “sitting”? Tell us all about your experiences in the comments below.