In contrast to our pre-industrial ancestors who moved around constantly throughout the day, most of us in the modern world are largely sedentary. Few of us realize just how hazardous this is. It’s true, sitting is the new smoking and our work is a health hazard.
Just a brief run down of the adverse health consequences from prolonged sitting include: increased rates of depression and anxiety, musculoskeletal problems (commonly back & neck strains), osteoporosis, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.
Unfortunately, according to the American Heart Association, sedentary jobs have increased 83% since 1950.
Working from Home? No Better
You might think, thankfully more of us are working from home these days. At least we don’t have the sedentary commute to and from work everyday. And while that may be true, for too many of us that means that the clear delineation between work time and non-work time is blurred. Some of us are thus spending even more time sitting at a desk often in front of a computer.
Some of us are better about exercising than others. But even for those of us who do manage to work in the recommended amount of daily exercise, the prolonged periods of inactivity is itself a risk factor for disease and mortality. That is, even after accounting for exercise, as sitting time increases so does your risk of premature death. Once again, work is a health hazard.
Add to this the fact that our workdays are so rushed that often times breakfast is just a coffee or a breakfast taco on the go. Lunch is frequently eaten out. A rushed breakfast for parents means quick processed cereal for kids. Don’t even ask about the school lunch.
After Work -> Couch Time
Unfortunately, after a draining day at the office, many of us then spend even more time sitting (usually in front of the TV). Today the typical office worker sits a shocking 15 hours a day.
Understandably, after a long day’s work, most of us want a little free time to ourselves. Naturally, the last thing on our mind is to come home to cook a nourishing meal for ourselves and our families. So this lifestyle just invites us to consume ready made processed alternatives instead. Thus our dietary choices compound our lack of movement.
Add in poor sleep and stress from years or decades of living this lifestyle and its no wonder that we have so much chronic disease burden that our ancestors almost never experienced.
School -> Also a Health Hazard
Sadly, our children are almost as bad off. Schools are unhealthy environments for our kids. They too sit for the large majority of their day confined to a desk. Presumably this is to prepare them for their sedentary lives ahead. To enforce the message, they are sure to get into trouble if they try to move around.
Time for a Change
Believe it or not, according to the World Health Organization, at least 80% of heart disease, stroke and diabetes and 40% of all cancer are entirely preventable with a healthy lifestyle. The fact is we long to be free to be able to move around and not be tied to our desks. It’s time for a paradigm shift in our way of living! What do you think? Click on your social media icon of preference & comment.
BOTTOM LINE: THERE IS A BETTER WAY!
- As John Maynard Keynes said a century ago, people of our time ought to be largely independent of our employers for our income – unfortunately, due to “mindless consumerism”, we are not.
- Mindless consumerism is the underlying reason leading to the rise of chronic disease for several reasons:
- A. It ties us to dependence on our employers. Unfortunately, modern day employment is a health hazard for most (in part due to the sedentary nature of most jobs).
- B. Overconsumption has lead us to engineer out the need for meaningful use of our legs for ambulation.
- C. It has led to environmental changes toxic to our wellbeing. We evolved in and are best suited to natural environments and instead we live in increasingly artificial environments.
- D. Finally, it transforms works to work with blinders on – instead of working for the product or service and receiving money as a side effect, workers focus on making money and the product or service is instead the side effect. The results (with respect to health) is that “food” is no longer food but changed to maximize pleasure and extract profit in spite of the toxicity to health.
- Based on the science of wellbeing one can derive the philosophy that once basic needs are met, “The best things in life are free” therefore —>
- Most people can live far below their means without sacrificing happiness AND by investing the rest, they can become financially independent of their employers enabling them to be —>
- Happier. Healthier. Wealthier. More engaged. Simply better.