Due to lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic, the adjustment from always being on the go to being strapped in doors to stop the spread of the virus has likely caused some modifications to your day-to-day.
There’s been a rise in a sedentary lifestyle, where Americans are sitting more than ever with no where to go. With desk stations transforming into living room sofas, beds, and other makeshift home offices, Americans are sitting more than ever.
In November, researchers found that Americans are spending an average of six hours per day sitting, four more hours than before the pandemic started in March.
During the summer months, there was an outlet to walk outside or conduct safe workouts in public spaces, but the colder weather has tested everyone’s tolerance, which has likely resulted in people spending more time indoors and in front of the TV streaming shows they haven’t been able to watch yet in quarantine.
Sedentary behavior isn’t the right path to help. Medical professionals have seen a drastic increase in the activity, which not only packs physical effects but can impact your mental health as well.
Long before the pandemic, studies were warning against sedentary behavior in the office because of how they can change your appearance and increase the risk of heart disease.
In a study from 2017, researchers from the University of Warwick in England found that desk jobs can physically increase the weight sizes of workers and change their heart health.
The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, proclaimed that desk jobs are bad for your heart and your waist and researchers passed along advice that people should sit less and be more active, standing or being upright for seven hours a day to avoid heart disease.
For those obsessed with step counts, that’s more than 14,000 steps daily.
The study focused on two groups of workers: postal workers and office workers. A combined 111 people wore activity monitors for a week and researchers wanted to see how their waist circumference and heart health differed. They found that people who held desk jobs had bigger waist circumference (97 cm) compared to postal workers (94 cm), which was about one BMI unit difference. Desk workers also had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, 2.2% compared to 1.6% over a ten years period.
“Longer time spent in sedentary posture is significantly associated with larger waist circumference, higher triglycerides (fat in the blood) and lower HDL cholesterol, all adding up to worse risk of heart disease. The levels associated with zero risk factors were walking more than 15,000 steps per day, which is equivalent to walking seven to eight miles, or spending seven hours per day upright,” said Dr. William Tigbe from the Warwick Medical School in a statement.
“Our findings could be used as the basis of new public health targets for sitting, lying, standing and stepping to avoid metabolic risks. However the levels suggested in our research would be very challenging to achieve unless incorporated into people’s occupations.”
So what does this mean about the work from home lifestyle? Probably not great news considering this study focused on life before the pandemic, but hopefully you’re not finding it too much of a struggle to fit in those pants from a year ago.