Sit? Stand? Squat? Can Changing How you Work Impact Your Life Span
In today’s economy, many of us older folks find it necessary to continue to work well into retirement age. This is the result of many companies to stop providing pension plans for their workers. This results in many older people forced to rely on Social Security, which is not nearly enough to survive.
Just a note – when Social Security was established in 1935 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, it was designed as a supplementary income to go with pension income. At that time, most people only lived about 5 years after retirement age, meaning that it was designed as short-term supplement. Today, people are living on average 15-20 years past retirement age and without pensions, they are forced to try to survive on Social Security and whatever investments they may have made.
That is why so many older folks are being forced to continue to work. I speak from experience since I am still working at 67 and my wife recently returned to working at 67.
With more, older people working, there are more health issues to be concerned with. Even if you’re not retirement age, the older you get, the working for a living takes its toll on many of us.
If you are fortunate enough to have a desk job, you probably think you may have it made, over those who are on the feet all day, but you may not be as lucky as you think.
If you do have a desk job or any kind of sitting down job, have someone take a look at your posture. For so many of us, the more we sit at our desks, the more slouched over we become. Additionally, we find that we are leading a more sedentary life, both of which have their problems, as pointed out by a recent report:
“A new study says that standing up and moving around could hugely reduce your risk of an early death – but how easy is it if you work at a computer?
“Today, I’m standing up in the office. Because Dr Keith Diaz says I’ll die if I don’t get up and move. Who’s he? An expert in behavioural medicine at Columbia University, and the co-author of a study that found that people need to sit less in order to live longer. The study doesn’t specifically talk about standing, it’s about not sitting. The standing-sitting debate is an ongoing one, but I’m going to stand because it’s not sitting. And I’m going to move, that’s the key.”
“Swapping 30 minutes of sedentary time over the course of a day for half an hour of low-intensity activity reduces the risk of an early death by 17%. Thirty minutes for 17%! That’s got to be worth a little wander, hasn’t it? I’ll start with a visit to my editor, to berate her for commissioning me by email, even though she sits approximately four metres away.”
“My existence is extremely sedentary. I sit – slouch – at a desk in front of a screen all day. Then I go home and sit, generally in front of a screen. Sometimes, I work at home and then I often do so – I’m ashamed to say this – in bed. There’s nothing in the survey about lying down all day, but I can’t believe it’s good. ‘Sitting is harmful, and is going to increase your risk [of death] no matter how you sit,’ said Diaz.”
“Not only am I static, I’m old. I’m 53. The Columbia research was of people aged 45 and over. This is about people like me; people in danger. That’s why I’m standing in the office.”
“Yes, it feels a bit daft when everyone else is sitting down. No, I’m not going to make a speech; yeah laugh, but who’s going to die first?”
Bottom line is, be more active however you can and consciously sit straighter. If necessary, ask a colleague to remind you to sit straighter when they see you slouching. If possible, get one of those desks that rise and lower to allow you to work sitting and standing. If possible, stand up at least once or twice every half hour, walk around the work area, take more bathroom trips or whatever is necessary and allowable. Talk to your boss or supervisor and explain to them the need to be less sedentary and more upright and more mobile as it will help you stay healthier, live longer and hopefully reduce sick time.