We’re not strangers to the issues plaguing our clients who log long hours in front of computers. In fact, some of our most popular posts are those that deal with problems in the neck and shoulders, hands and arms — much of which, is caused by tapping on keys all day.
But did you know that the act of sitting — not just typing — could be shortening your life span?
Sitting Can Kill You
According to an infographic put out by the folks at MedicalBillingandCoding.org (see the infographic below) sitting for 6 or more hours a day increases your likelihood of premature death by 40%.
Beyond the aches and pains brought on by lack of movement and stiffening muscles — this statistic should concern anyone with a sedentary career or lifestyle. That’s because the data shows that regardless of whether or not you work out every day for a half hour to an hour, just the act of sitting for six or more hours could still have profoundly adverse effects on your health and well-being.
Chained to a Desk: A Sedentary Life
But what are you supposed to do if your chosen profession is a supremely sedentary vocation by nature?
This was the case for a friend and patient of ours who happens to work as a full-time freelance writer. Vanessa spends upwards of 8 to 12 hours a day writing for businesses, online and print publications, and authors to earn her living as The Portland Writer. Fed up with the lack of movement, stiffening muscles and drop in stamina, she decided to get serious about getting more movement in her day.
While there are many options available to counteract the adverse effects of sitting all day (getting up and moving for 15 minutes out of every hour, using a standing desk, taking several walking breaks throughout the day, kickstand desks) Vanessa chose to make her own treadmill desk. While treadmills and treadmill desks can both run into the thousands of dollars new, with a little ingenuity and some DIY skills, our writer friend put together a winning combination for a mere $44.95.
Vanessa used Craigslist to locate a used but good condition treadmill (most are being used as expensive clothes hangers) for $20! She then spent $24.95 on supplies at Home Depot to put together the desk, with the help of the tutorial below. She suggests one change to the advice in the video, “Skip purchasing the saw and just have the folks at Home Depot cut your wood to size. They’ll also cut the metal bracket for you in the tool rental area (if it’s two or less cuts.”)”
After putting together her treadmill desk and firing it up, Vanessa reports it’s not as difficult as you might imagine to read, work or type while in motion. In fact, because the only requirement is a body in motion, you can set your speed at a low-level and still achieve great health benefits. According to Dr. James Levine MD of the Mayo Clinic, the man credited with the invention of the treadmill desk, on average his subjects burned 100 extra calories every hour while walking slowly, less than 1 mile per hour, at a treadmill desk.
Dr. Levine believes that if individuals were to replace 8 hours a day of sitting with a treadmill desk, they could lose up to 57 pounds a year. Regardless of weight loss, the act of keeping your muscles actively engaged instead of still, stiff and stagnant from long hours sitting will definitely have you reaping the benefits of increased flexibility, better circulation, lymphatic drainage and more. Whatever you do, one thing is certain — you got to “move it, move it!”