I know I’ve ragged on Men’s Health magazine on this blog before, since I don’t agree with a lot of their nutrition recommendations, but this article is a very important read, especially for those of you who have office jobs. And its even worse than the article claims. In addition to making you fat, sitting for over 6 hours a day actually increases your risk of death up to 40%! If something this simple could lead to a longer healthier life, would you do it?
Your Job Is Making You Fat
One reason for the obesity epidemic could be our cube-monkey culture: New research shows that American males are burning at least 140 less calories per day at work than they did 50 years ago.
It’s no surprise why. Instead of tending a store or working at a plant or a steel mill, most of us are chained to our desks. In the 1960s, more than half of private industry jobs required at least moderate intensity physical activity at work. Today, fewer than 1 in 5 jobs require that level of activity, says Timothy Church, M.D., director of preventative medicine and research at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
When Church and his team plotted the rise in office sloth (using calories burned at work) against obesity rates, the patterns perfectly matched one another.
Throw in the recent news from the Centers for Disease Control that only 6.5 percent of U.S. adults meet physical activity guidelines while they’re working, and it’s easy to see why being an office worker makes you fatter. Here are some options to fit a little more activity into the daily grind.
Stand, Don’t Sit
We’ve written before how your office chair may be killing you. Stand instead. Editors here at Men’s Health use shelves or sturdy books to prop up their monitors and keyboards, but we’ve also heard of guys using cardboard boxes, mail bins, and milk crates. First-graders who worked at stand-sit desks burned 17 percent more calories in a day than kids at regular desks, a recent study found. Just think, if 7-year-olds can do it, you can.
Want to add a little something to your standing workstation? Try an office step machine like Nordic Track’s Office Mini-Stepper, nordicktrack.com, $119. A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that using an office stepper burned almost 300 more calories per hour than sitting.
All you need to walk at your desk is a treadmill. (Watch this video to see how simple this can be to set up.) Another British Journal of Sports Medicine study showed that if sitting time at your desk was replaced by walking, you could burn an average 119 calories more per hour.
If you’re office space won’t allow any of these, try these perfect exercises to do at your desk to keep you from being a slouch.