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Walking at the Desk — Workplace Innovation Fosters Better Health Resolution

from By Dinesh John, Ph.D.

Up until the last century, a high level of physical activity was an integral part of life for most humans. Due to advances in modern technology, ‘essential’ physical activity has been dramatically reduced in the workplace, resulting in an overall decrease in energy expenditure during the workday. A large segment of the labor force is now engaged in sedentary occupations that involve long hours of continuous sitting – in fact, U.S. Census Bureau statistics suggest that up to 75% of American workers are sitting in front of a computer at work!

In the early 1700s, the work of an Italian physician named Bernardo Ramazzini led to the field of occupational medicine. He studied the health of workers in over a hundred different kinds of jobs and concluded that ”those who sit at their work and are therefore called 'chair workers,' such as cobblers and tailors, suffer from their own particular diseases ... [T]hese workers ... suffer from general ill-health and an excessive accumulation of unwholesome humors caused by their sedentary life.” Confirming Ramazzini’s observations, current research has shown that prolonged sitting is associated with obesity, cardiovascular disorders, and an impaired metabolic profile. Thus, reducing sitting in the workplace may potentially improve the health status of sedentary office workers. more

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