One thing accountants all have in common is that we sit most of the day. That is just the nature of the beast. In fact, any office job usually includes sitting at a computer or desk for the greatest portion of the workday.
Accountants Beware: Sitting All Day is the New Smoking
From an article at Huffington Post, "Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk. Levine has been studying the adverse effects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles for years and has summed up his findings in two sentences. “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death."
Levine is credited with coining that mantra — “sitting is the new smoking” — but he’s not the only one who believes it. Researchers have found and continue to find evidence that prolonged sitting increases the risk of developing several serious illnesses like various types of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Another reason the smoking analogy is relevant is that studies have repeatedly shown the effects of long-term sitting are not reversible through exercise or other good habits. Sitting, like smoking, is very clearly bad for our health and the only way to minimize the risk is to limit the time we spend on our butts each day."
Now for the Good News
There is a solution for accountants and other office workers who sit all day. Unlike smoking, which Dr. Levine compares to sitting too much, you can still sit and do your job while avoiding all of the terrible health risks from this occupational hazard.
This article from Life Hack has 15 great tips to stay healthy even if your job requires long periods of sitting. A few of the suggestions from the article are listed below:
1. Take Hourly Breaks.
Hours of working at your desk can take a toll on you body. Taking breaks helps you improve focus, according to this 2008 study, so they can improve performance. But long stretches of work can be hard on your body. According to Scientific American, “Maintaining unbroken focus or navigating demanding intellectual territory for several hours really does burn enough energy to leave one feeling drained.”
Take short breaks to ensure you maintain focus and help from feeling mentally and physically drained after work. You’ll get more done and have more energy to stay active when you’re not behind the desk.
2. Stretch or Move in Place.
3. Skip elevators & take the stairs.
Are you walking 10,000 steps a day? According to this study, 10,000 steps is a good amount that healthy adults should be taking. That’s going to be difficult if you’re at your desk all day. So skip the elevators and take the stairs. Park in the spot furthers from your office. Take the “scenic” route when you head to your desk. And find as many extra steps as you can throughout the day.
Or, there is another solution to the problem of sitting all day. (Some humor here from the Onion and the movie Office Space.)
The movie, OFFICE SPACE, became a cult-classic and a big part of the reason is the infamous scene from above, where the main character, when confronted with the fact that he had missed a lot of work in his review meeting, stated, for calmly, "No, I wouldn't say I've been missing it."
In other words, you could do like he did and just stop showing up at all. In tandem with this particular silly idea is this hilarious piece from the Onion, (which most of us know is pure parody) Health Experts Recommend Standing Up at Desk, Leaving Office, Never Coming Back. Here is just a small sample of the piece, “We encourage Americans to experiment with stretching their legs by strolling across their office and leaving all their responsibilities behind forever just one time to see how much better they feel. People tend to become more productive, motivated, and happy almost immediately. We found that you can also really get the blood flowing by pairing this activity with hurling your staff ID across the parking lot.” Sparks added that Americans could maximize positive effects by using their lunch break to walk until nothing looks familiar anymore and your old life is a distant memory."
Just a simple reminder that keeping your sense of humor when you have an accounting or other job requiring lots of sitting is pretty important too. 🙂