Sitting is the New Smoking

wisp of smoke

You may have heard the saying before “sitting is the new smoking,” and that’s because it’s true. Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns including obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular issues. As James Levine, Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic explains, "sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death," Dr. Levine estimates that Americans spend more than half of their waking hours sitting down, either watching TV, driving, or sitting at a desk at work or home. While this may not seem like an issue for you as an employer, staff that are less healthy or have higher rates of anxiety and depression tend to take more sick days and also have shorter tenures at positions. So what can you do as an employer to help your staff become healthier and stick around longer? Read on to find out some tips. 

Start an initiative where staff are encouraged to take a break from sitting every 30 minutes. According to Gavin Bradley, Director of Active Working, your metabolism slows down by 90% after 30 minutes of sitting. The enzymes that move the bad fat from your arteries to your muscles, where it can get burned off, slow down. While not moving often can have serious consequences, luckily it’s a very easy fix. Just getting up for five minutes every half hour is going to get things going again. Try and create a company-wide challenge to get your staff on their feet every 30 minutes each day. 

Offer standing desks for staff. While this might be an investment for some, it could also be profitable for you in the end. Not only would your staff be happier having a say in how they spend their time at their desk, studies show those that use a standing desk are often more productive throughout the day. So, make your employees happy so that they can make you happy in return. Find online sales or options where you could buy standing desks in bulk for a discount.

Walk with your colleagues for meetings rather than sitting in a conference room. Encourage your team to take their meetings outside or on jaunt around the office hallways. Not only will the meetings be shorter as people are less likely to get long-winded when they’re on their feet, but everyone will also keep their heartrate up and get a pep back in their step to continue their work.

Active workstations and generally encouraging your staff to be more active is excellent for the health, body, and mind of your employees. Investing in standing desks or creating fun office initiatives like a movement challenge, can be your best bet to improve the productivity of your employees, create a fun office culture, and take care of sitting-related health issues at the same time.