Monday, August 8, 2016

This Job is Killing You — Literally

Now there’s proof. Your sitting job is actually killing you. Or, at least you’re at risk of dying younger.

An increase of up to 60% in risk of dying prematurely is seen in those who sit 8 hours a day on the job and don’t exercise. Those who engaged in moderate exercise (i. e. brisk walking, cycling) for an hour a day overcame the problems of sitting on the job. 

A million people can’t be wrong—or at least that’s how many individuals participated in the 16  studies examined by British researchers to determine the stark information about sitting and early death. 

“Scientists said sedentary lifestyles were now posing as great a threat to public health as smoking, and were causing more deaths than obesity. (Researchers said that globally, more than 5 million deaths a year are linked to physical inactivity – a similar number to lives lost to smoking, and a higher figure than that caused by obesity.)

“They urged anyone spending hours at their desk to change their daily routine to take a five minute break every hour, as well as exercise at lunchtimes and evenings.

“An hour of brisk walking or cycling spread over a day was enough to combat the dangers of eight hours sitting in the office, they said.

“Currently, public health advice in the UK recommends just half this level of activity.
But almost half of women and one third of men fail to achieve even this.”

Another study estimates “physical inactivity costs the global economy $67.5bn (billion) (£51.5bn) per year – the UK equivalent is £1.7bn – comprising $58.8bn in healthcare and $13.7bn in lost productivity.”

“Steven Ward, executive editor of UK Active, urged employers to do more to encourage workers to be more active during the working day.

“He also urged workers to do all they could to find time to get moving. 

“‘This report is showing that inactivity kills,’” he said. “‘When we realised (sic) this about smoking we tackled it – we need to do the same about our office culture.’”

“He called for changes in tax breaks, to encourage office workers to be more active, by providing free gym membership, or activity trackers, in the same way that (UK’s) Cycle to Work schemes let employers loan out bicycles as a tax-free benefit.”

A previous study addressed the impact on longevity of sitting during time off, time spent watching television. An hour of television viewing shortens one’s life by 22 minutes—the same amount as if one had smoked two cigarettes. Each hour reduces ones life by 1.8 years for women and 1.5 years for men. These are average numbers from a study about television viewing habits and longevity collected from 8,800 Australian adults over 6 years. The model was created by researchers Lennert Veerman et al. of the University of Queensland. “Compared with persons who watch no TV, those who spend a lifetime average of 6 h/day (hours per day) watching TV can expect to live 4.8 years less.” At the most extreme, those who watch the most television reduce their lives by 44 minutes for each hour of viewing for a total of up to 10.4 years in comparison to those who watch no television.

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