Is sitting really the new smoking?

We’ve all heard the studies that sitting kills you, especially when you sit 9 hours a day. That’s more than we sleep on average! Basically, if you have a commute, and a 9-5 office job, you are probably in this category. More and more experts are speaking out about this.

One of the reasons I’m a fan of designing (or, rather, redesigning) your life is so that you can prioritize health and taking care of yourself. No job is worth dying prematurely for.

I’m curious, though, how many companies have chosen to do anything about the fact that they employ hundreds of thousands of their team members and force them to sit at a desk all day?Yes, there are standing desks. The sit/stand desk is said to be the best option. Yes, there’s the walking treadmill desk, but how many offices really will allow this? I guess you could try leaving the office every hour for 15 minutes, but will your boss then expect you to put in another hour at the end of the day?
It’s frustrating how corporate culture has not seemed to care to change even in the fact of recent staggering studies.So what can you do to combat sitting-duck syndrome? Take matters into your own hands:
  1. Set a timer on your calendar and get up every hour, even if it’s to go to the kitchen for water.
  2. Ask your employer for a sit/stand desk. (Some may be more flexible than others.)
  3. Use your lunch hour for fitness. Walk to get your lunch, or take a 20 minute run before you eat your lunch.
  4. Something that Nilofer Merchant said in her TedTalk, have walking meetings. (Bonus points if you can figure out how to take notes at this meeting, maybe record them with your smart phone?)
  5. Leave on time. You’re already sitting enough. You’re also probably already working enough. Prioritize your health and prioritize your workload so you get what has to get done,  so that you don’t spend an hour longer than you need.
  6. Reduce your commute time. Flex hours? Working remotely a day a week? Figure out what would work with your company and approach them.

Corporate culture in America has us chained to our desks, powerless over our bodies. We need to change that. In the mean time, do your part to look out for your own health and advocate for yourself at work. If they aren’t willing to budge, maybe it’s time to consider a new job? Nothing’s worth dying over.

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