Sit more, and you increase the likelihood of becoming disabled, according to a new study from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.
The study, published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, examined a large group of adults over age 60 who had participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They wore an accelerometer - a device that measures physical activity that perhaps we should all be wearing - that would provide an objective and accurate data of their physical activity. The results were dramatic and the message is clear - movement is a daily necessity of good health.
Science has long recognized that an active lifestyle is an important part of maintaining overall health, but this particular study focused on sitting as part of a lifestyle. According to the research, for every extra hour per day that a person is sitting, their risk for disability increases by 50 percent.
Does this mean you are destined to become disabled because your occupation keeps you deskbound? Depends. According to study author Dr. Dorothy Dunlop, professor of medicine and preventive medicine at Northwestern, sitting does increase risk factors for disability. There are things that deskbound office workers can do to help their health:
Treadmill desks are growing in popularity, although more often seen in high-tech companies than professional service firms.
Use a telephone headset that allows standing and walking around during extended conversations.
Take frequent small breaks -a short walk to the other side of the office - two breaks per hour.
Desk Exercises - stretch your arms overhead, stretch your legs out, do abdominal crunches as you sit at your desk.
Sit on an exercise ball - large inflatable exercise balls, at the right height, can be comfortable but they do require balance and the use muscles in the legs and core to maintain correct posture.
Standing Desk or Work Area - bring your work to a counter in the office kitchen; use your cell phone to make calls while standing. Try different locations to see what works best for your situation.
Action Meetings - If your meetings involve small numbers of people, try to make them walking meetings, getting everyone outdoors and moving. The break with routine will foster fresh ideas and all will benefit from moving around a little in the middle of the day.
As experienced long term disability lawyers, we have worked with many clients who are surprised to find themselves in the position of being disabled. Those who pride themselves on taking good care of their health on a daily basis are often able to draw on the same self-discipline and productive behaviors when it comes to battling their disability.
Our job is to battle with the long term disability insurance company so that our clients can focus on adapting to the challenges presented by their disability. When the insurance company claims that you have no claim, call our office at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524). Bear in mind that there are now severe time limits on disability insurance policy claims, so don't put off making this free phone call.