“The science of sitting down”

A few years back exercise was not considered as an essential  part of life because people were involved in a lot of physical activity in their workplace itself.But in todays era were office jobs have soared up,it has tied  people to their office desks creating a rather sedentary lifestyle devoid of any physical activity what so ever. Dr. Tim Church, of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., called inactivity at work “a big player in the obesity epidemic”. A common concern with sitting is the development of musculoskeletal problems. Reports of back pain, muscle tenderness and ache, varicose veins, stiff necks, numbness in the legs, reduced heart and lung efficiency and digestive problems are more common among seated employees than among those doing heavier tasks.

 Sedentary employees may face a gradual deterioration in health if they do not exercise or do not lead a physically active life. Such people need to take serious measures to avoid health problems. For those well-acquainted with their phones, computer screens and office chairs, squeezing recommended amounts of physical activity into each day can be a challenge. Our bodies are evolved to be physically active. Over thousands of years of evolution, the human body was designed to walk 30 to 35 miles a day, but in the last 100 years steps have been engineered out of modern life, he said. Without the movement, the body can’t work the way it is designed to. “Every function in our body is predicated on movement, and we’ve taken that away,”said Mr. Bordley, CEO of Trek Desk Inc., which sells desks designed so users can walk on a treadmill while doing their work. His product and others like it are designed based on the “caveman theory.”When you sit, there are a lot of things that happened to your body and none of them are good.” Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke, director of the Walking Behavior Laboratory at Pennington, is on the cutting edge of “the science of sitting down” and has worked extensively with step-counting devices called pedometers. She said there is no universally endorsed ideal number of steps per day, but there is a “general acceptance” within the scientific community of a 10,000-step daily goal. Most people in the United States take around 6,000 per day, though few if any studies have been done to determine how many of those are taken at work, she said. Before finding out the results, Joan Randall, director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Obesity and Metabolism guessed landscapers, mail carriers and construction workers would have high step counts, while teachers, drivers and engineers would have low counts.

 The good news for desk dwellers is that little decisions they take could promote a healthy lifestyle.Using a stand-up desk similar to the Trek Desk,taking the stairs rather than the elevator or walking over to someone’s desk rather than e-mailing  are classic examples of such decisions “People can have the same jobs and one can burn 2,000 more calories just by how they choose to do it,” she said. Employers are beginning to take steps to promote activity.Many worksites offer amenities for “alternative commutes” including bike racks and showers for those cycling into work, she said. Others subsidize gym memberships or provide on-site rec rooms. Even without a treadmill desk, every decision can be a small step toward a healthier lifestyle, Ms. Lankford said.”All the active living things add up,” she said.