Small business owners typically wear many hats in order to cut costs and keep operations running smoothly, but juggling all that work often means sitting for long hours in front of computer. While this may help the bottom line, sitting for too long can be deadly—increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and death, according to a new study out this week.
Researchers from Toronto analyzed data from forty-seven previous studies and found being sedentary for too long is associated with an increased risk of death, hospitalizations, heart disease, diabetes and cancer– regardless of regular exercise.
Dr. David Alter is the study’s author and a senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. In an interview with the Associated Press, he explained that exercise alone is not enough to reduce the harmful effects of sitting for too long.
“More than one half of an average person’s day is spent being sedentary — sitting, watching television or working at a computer,” said Dr. Alter. “Our study finds that despite the health-enhancing benefits of physical activity, this alone may not be enough to reduce the risk for disease.”
The study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, did not look into how much sitting time puts someone at risk. However, Dr. Alter told CTV News one thing people can do to avoid sitting for too long is to consider using a standing work station at the office.
Busy entrepreneurs, small business owners and office workers can do more to get exercise and cut back on the length of time spent sitting down. Toronto Public Health provides these tips on how to become more active during the day:
- Take a fit break. Walk around the office.
- Stand up while talking on the phone.
- Get up from your desk every hour. Do a stretch or walk on the spot.
- Go to talk to your co-worker or friend instead of e-mailing or calling them.
- Go for a lunch walk, encourage your co-workers/friends to go with you.
- If you drive to work, park the car farther away from the entrance.
By Peter Dolphin