Would you believe it if I told you that something you do with the majority of your day is slowly killing you? If you guessed sitting for eight hours a day, you’re partially right.
Sitting behind a desk is giving us a 90% higher risk of developing diabetes, an 18% higher chance of dying of heart disease or cancer, and a 40% higher chance of dying prematurely. Take a minute to let that soak in. As more research emerges and awareness grows, the long-term effects from prolonged sitting —considered to be more than five hours a day—are undeniable.
The worst part is most people don’t even know what is happening to them.
The average American sits 9.3 hours every day between work and relaxing at home. And the worst part is that we have been conditioned to think this is normal. We sit in classrooms, in our cubicles, at meetings, on our commutes home, for meals and after work watching Netflix. As Nilofer Merchant pointed out at a TED Talk, “Sitting is so incredibly prevalent that we don’t even question how much we’re doing it. And because everyone else is doing it, it doesn’t even occur to us that it’s not OK.”
We’ve created a culture of inactivity and have collectively taught ourselves and everyone around us to think it’s not harmful. The sedentary life has become the standard.
Influence of Health-Conscious Millennials
Luckily, the combination of millennials entering the workforce with a few other cultural factors has demanded that the workplace adapt. “For Millennials, wellness is a daily, active pursuit,” according to Goldman Sachs. “Their active lifestyle influences trends in everything from food and drink to fashion.”
Another lifestyle trend under the millennial influence is the office. More companies are moving to flexible remote work situations. Work spaces are transforming into more inviting environments to allow people to enjoy their job better. And companies are making a conscious effort to provide healthier options to working.
This demand for healthier workplaces isn’t just about health initiatives like weight loss challenges or weekly office yoga. Companies are providing fitness trackers with step goals, wellness seminars, and standing desks for their employees. These are steps in the right direction, but offices are limited in what products and programs are currently available on the market. Fortunately, we live in a world where demand is always met with supply—even if slightly delayed! Companies and employees alike are looking for more holistic solutions to reducing health risks from sitting all day at work.
Standing Desks Are Part of the Answer
The first solution to the sedentary lifestyle problem was the standing desk. And these desks have been met with surprising popularity. It’s hard to find an office today that doesn’t have at least one person standing. And while they’re a great way to combat the negative effects of sitting, the problem we are truly solving is the sedentary lifestyle. Standing still all day provides marginal benefits over sitting. While there may not be a silver bullet to solve this problem, a combination of solutions could be the answer we are seeking.
Not only is this sedentary lifestyle slowly killing us, it’s decreasing our productivity while creating a feeling of imprisonment at work. More and more Millennials are asking for jobs that do not require them to abandon their healthy habits between the hours of nine and five. They are looking for walking meetings instead of moving from the desk chair to the meeting room chair. People are searching for companies that encourage micro-breaks throughout the day to get you away from your computer as well as to improve productivity.
The good news is that employers are listening and responding. We are seeing more contemporary work spaces that are actually trying to help us stay active while we’re working. And now, there are companies like CubeFit that are designing an ecosystem of healthy office products to solve this sedentary lifestyle problem. One of those products, the TerraMat, is a standing desk mat specifically designed to keep you moving, productive, and healthy at work. This is the perfect companion for a standing desk.
CubeFit is envisioning a work world where people’s healthy habits can be integrated into their work days instead of temporarily abandoned until they clock out. They’re looking to change sedentary cultures and lifestyles by providing resources, education and a collection of products that help empower office workers to be more active and productive at work.
As this healthy office trend becomes a movement, we should see more companies like CubeFit come into this emerging market with exciting new products. And the office will be a better place because of it. Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.