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Tip of the Week: 3 Exercises to Offset the Pain of Working From a Desk

Welp, we’re all doomed. It turns out that sitting all day at your desk is one of the worst things you can do for your health. Alternatively, numerous studies have shown the health benefits of trading your traditional desk in for a standing desk. One study even goes so far as to claim that standing at work is the best anti-aging technique you can do!

This standing/anti-aging study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. It links aging with the chromosome “telomeres” that protects one’s genetic code. This chromosome shortens when a person sits, and lengthens when a person stands. Longer telomeres are better at protecting genetic code by keeping it from wearing and tearing, whereas shorter telomere have been linked to premature aging.

The study even makes the claim that standing is better than exercise, seeing that exercise doesn’t have any impact on telomere length. In fact, a top medic from the study claims that, “Standing up for three hours a day is the same as ten marathons.” Scientific research like this is groundbreaking for anybody trying to live longer by dieting and exercising.

To further make our case against sitting at a desk all day, consider these statistics from the Harvard Business Review:

  • As we work, we sit more than we do anything else. The average person sits for 9.3 hours a day, compared to 7.7 hours of sleeping.
  • After one hour of sitting, the production of enzymes that burn fat declines by as much as 90 percent. Extended sitting slows the body’s metabolism affecting things like HDL levels in our bodies (good cholesterol).
  • Research shows that this lack of physical activity is directly tied to 6 percent of the impact for heart diseases, 7 percent for type 2 diabetes, and 10 percent for breast cancer or colon cancer.

In the biggest blow to the practice of sitting at a desk, further research shows that if you sit for more than 23 hours a week, you are 64 percent more likely to die from a heart attack.

What’s a health-conscious office worker to do? If you’re able to switch to a standing desk, then this simple move may literally add years to your life. Another helpful activity you can do to somewhat offset the negative health effects of sitting is to incorporate regular stretching exercises into your daily routine. To help you out, here are three easy exercises that virtually anybody can do.

Get Down and Stretch
Get down on all fours and slowly rock back and forth. When rocking back, your hips should move down towards your feet, and make sure to extend your back across the lower portion of your spine. Also, make sure to relax the stretch when returning to the forward position. If you’d like to make the stretch more impactful, nod your head as you rock, bringing your chin to and from your chest.

Roll Around on the Ground
Start by lying on your stomach and then lift your arms above your head. Next, lift your arms and use their weight to roll over a few times on each side. Make sure you’re using the weight of your arm to roll, instead of using the ground to push yourself over.

The Benefits of Crawling
It’s surprising that something so basic as crawling can double as such a good exercise. When crawling on all fours for exercise purposes, be sure to move your hips as much as possible. At the same time, stretch your neck by turning your head from side to side while moving backward.

Between standing and stretching, you may be able to offset the damage done from years of sitting. What about you? Would you identify as someone who spends way too many hours sitting on your keister? Have we convinced you to sit less and stand more? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.


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