An average Nigerian worker spends a total of about 10 hours sitting each day, and may be at risk of the ‘Sitting Disease’. And if you are like the 51 million Nigerian workers, you sit all day for your job. Add to that the time you spend sitting in traffic to and from work; on the couch after work watching television, reading, playing games or surfing the Internet, and you spend approximately 10 hours a day sitting down.
But could you be at risk for “Sitting Disease?”
Given the number of workers who perform their tasks on a computer or otherwise seated at a desk, medical experts are starting to become concerned about the health effects of sitting. The scientific community has coined the phrase “Sitting Disease” to refer to the effect sitting has on metabolism, as well as the negative impact of an overly sedentary lifestyle. It may not be a diagnosable disease yet, but if you sit the majority of the day and do not balance it out with physical activity, your health could be in jeopardy.
The Dangers of Sitting
Ergotron’s informative site, JustStand.org, provides ample medical research indicating that prolonged sitting increases the risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and even death. Here are other shocking statistics:
People who sit for more than 11 hours a day have a 40 per cent increased risk of death in the next three years, compared with people who sit for four hours or less.
Workers who have held sedentary roles for more than 10 years have twice the risk of colon cancer.
The longer people sit, the shorter their lifespan, even if they exercise regularly.
Sitting for long periods may also affect the development of musculoskeletal disorders.
How to Stand Up Against Sitting Disease
Standing up against Sitting Disease does not call for you quitting your desk job, but arming yourself with information about how you can reduce your risk of health issues that sitting can cause. The key is being more active. However, the antidote is to be aware: even if you consider yourself active now (meaning you spend 30 minutes or more a day engaging in physical exercise), are still considered high risk if you spend eight to 10 hours a day sitting.
If possible, aim for more exercise, especially on the days you are sitting for work. Walking, running, riding a bicycle and swimming are all excellent forms of exercise that counter the effects of sitting.
Also, look into standing and walking more at work and at home. Rather than spending time on the social media chatting with a friend after work, walk over to her home. Park farther away in the parking lot so that you have another opportunity to walk. Stand up while watching TV, or at least during commercial breaks. Build activity into your day, even if it is in five-minute bursts.
Do not let the idea of Sitting Disease scare you. Make it an excuse to be more proactive about your health, both at the office and at home. Find opportunities to get up from your desk, or to work while. Being aware of your health and how sitting affects it can help reduce the risk of the diseases that a sedentary lifestyle can bring, and being more active can have the added perk of better health and fitness, as well as weight loss.
Tips for the Office Working Healthy
How the workstation is set up and how workers sit can cause many of the difficulties workers to face.
You can adjust the seat height and depth of most chairs on the market today. These adjustable chairs fit about 95% of the population.
When first using a chair, try it for at least three to four days. Ensure that your chair is adjusted properly so that you are as comfortable as possible.
Below are some common issues and ways to resolve them:
Incorrect chair height
Adjust your chair’s height to match standing knee height. Sit to the back of the chair and make sure that your feet are flat on the floor.
Incorrect chair depth
When you sit at the back of your chair, two or three fingers should fit between the back of your legs and the front of your chair.
Poor sitting posture
A slightly reclined position can relieve tension in your lower back. Adjust the chair tilt and lock in place. Sit toward the back of your chair and ensure that the natural curve in your back is supported. Adjust your armrests to achieve a relaxed arm position. Use armrests between (rather than during) typing sessions.
Lack of seat padding
Add or replace your seat cushion so that you have enough padding.
Take coffee, lunch and micro-breaks throughout the workday. Change your position as often as possible.
Desk or keyboard is too high
Raise the height of your seat. Ensure that your feet are flat on the floor or on a foot rest. Use an adjustable keyboard tray so that your shoulders can relax.
Armrests are too high
Adjust your armrests’ height. If they are not adjustable, remove them.
Mouse and keyboard are on different levels
Make sure that your mouse is on the same level as your keyboard (that is, both are on the keyboard tray).
Looking back and forth from papers on your desk to the monitor
Try a copy/document holder. Position documents at the same height and distance as the monitor to avoid repeated neck movements.
Dual tasking (e.g., holding the phone between ear and shoulder while typing):
Try a headset.
Incorrect monitor height or distance
Ensure that your monitor is right in front of you. The line of vision should be about five to eight centimetres from the top of the screen. Position the monitor 45 to 76 centimetres (about the length of an arm) away.
Taking Stretch Breaks
Stretching and taking regular short breaks can help to prevent repetitive strain injuries. Generally, for continuous desk/computer work, one five-minute break per hour is recommended.Consult your health-care provider before beginning a stretching or exercise program.