With an increasingly amount of jobs requiring desk work for prolonged periods of time, there have been an surge in studies looking at the implications of such jobs. According to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, those who tallied more than four hours of screen time daily were twice at risk for developing cardiac events than those who accumulated under two hours of screen time daily. This was established by following subjects and measuring specific blood markers for heart disease and metabolic diseases.
In addition, prolonged screen time under improper ergonomic changes can lead to postural changes and conditions such as carpal tunnel, thoracic outlet syndrome and low back pain. These risks were consistent regardless of how much exercise the subjects completed outside of work hours, suggesting damaging metabolic changes occur during this sedentary period that could not be erased by any amount of exercising outside of work.
According to Travis Saunders, researcher and co-author on the study, “The animal research and the few physiological studies that have been done suggest that as long as a muscle is contracting, regardless of how low the intensity is, that seems to prevent you from experiencing some of the metabolic adaptations that happen when you’re sedentary”.
While research on the intensity and duration of non-sedentary tasks are still pending, Saunders suggests that simple tasks such as range of motion and stretching are sufficient enough to break up sedentary activity. Saunders concluded that subjects that took breaks more frequently, presented significantly healthier in addition to a small waistline in comparison to those who took fewer breaks.
At Bayside Health and Wellness, we recognize that not everyone has access to being on their feet all day, therefore we can help to implement exercises and stretches that are manageable into your day to break up sedentary activity. In addition we can assess your work station to help minimize any ergonomic errors that may be putting unnecessary stress on your body.
Yours In Health,
Suzanne Deault, RMT