In The News: Excessive Sitting May Cause Premature Death in Women

Reader Contribution by Justine Patton
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The American Cancer Society has news for a few of my fellow coworkers and me at The Herb Companion–and it’s not good news. In one of their latest studies, the organization found that women who sat for more than six hours a day had a 37 percent increased risk of premature death.

This number, compared to 18 percent for men, stayed the same even when factors such as smoking, amount of daily exercise and dietary habits came into play. The study, which followed 123,000 people between 1992 and 2006, found that women who sat the longest and exercised the least were at the greatest risk for premature death.

Treadmill desks are being installed in offices throughout the country.
Photo by massdistraction/ Courtesy

This news may seem discouraging for people like me, since an office job is no doubt in my future, and for those of you who already work in an office. However, some offices are making an effort to incorporate exercise into the workday. Treadmill desks, which are desks with an adjustable desk surface and a slow-moving treadmill, are popping up in the offices all over the country, including the corporation offices of Google, Kraft Foods and eBay. The treadmill desk, also called a Walkstation, was inspired by James Levine, an endocrinologist at Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic, and can be purchased for $4,399.

However, if dropping this kind of cash isn’t a possibility, don’t despair. Here are some tips about how to keep active at the office:

• Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair. This will strengthen your abs and back and you’ll work on your posture without even trying.
• Set an alarm to go off every hour to remind you to stand up and move around. Even if you just swing your arms or take a deep breath, you’ll feel more alert.
• Use the restroom on another floor and take the stairs
• Use a pedometer and keep track of how many steps you take. Aim for 6,000 to 10,000 steps a day.
• Leave something important in your car (your lunch, your briefcase, etc.) so you have to run out to get it (and take the stairs)
• Deliver documents or messages to co-workers in person rather than by email
• Go to the mall for lunch and park on the opposite end of the food court. Don’t forget to buy something healthy.
• Get a headset for your phone so you can move around while you talk.

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