Sitting kills

We know the dangers of smoking, drinking and eating too much but what if one of the deadliest activities was something most of us do every day.

"Sitting is really the new smoking" it's the latest health warning for office workers, aimed at those spending more than 20 hours a week in a chair not to mention extra sitting at home as TV and technology take over our lives. "I think we're living in a society where we simply move from chair to chair throughout the day - for instance the chair in the car when we're transporting to work when we're at work then domestic setting in the lunch room"

Meet one man who's making a stand - Adelaide's standing Professor John Coveney spends his days upright. "So how many hours of the day would you spend standing as opposed to sitting like most people? "Probably about a third of the day I'm standing on average"

As a professor of public health and nutrition, john is conscious about practicing what he preaches and he's inspired

Other staff at Flinders University to rise up from their desks and reap the benefits. "At the end of the day I feel as though I've got more energy when I'm standing if I'm sitting all day I feel really lethargic, too much sitting is bad for your health"

And there's proof - several studies on our increasing sedentary lifestyles are blaming our chairs for a range of serious health conditions.

"Prolonged sitting is associated with an elevated risk of chronic disease, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease" Professor David Dunstan from Baker idi heart and diabetes institute has spent 10 years looking at the adverse effects of too much sitting he says it's time we take notice before it's too late. "If you look at the evidence and studies that have looked at prolonged periods what it does show is people that sit for higher amounts have an increased risk of early death compared to those who sit for lower amounts, whether it's causing the death highly associated." if that's not bad enough, even those who exercise for the recommended 30 minutes a day are still at risk.

Even if you are an exerciser but you also sit for high amounts you have an elevated risk. Of course doing exercise is going to be of great benefit compared to not doing any exercise.

So what's the solution? Well one idea gaining momentum in Australia is swapping our seats for standing desks or treadmill desks working and walking at the same time.

"We're seeing everybody purchasing these desks from small home offices to medium businesses and large multi-nationals like Google and Microsoft."

Chris Quinn from Infiniti fitness was the first to market the treadmill desks in Australia and says while popular in the us ozzies are just catching on.

"We've had numerous people who have used it and certainly lost weight form warehouse workers who have integrated it into their office space and started walking during the day and that's literally dropped weight off them"

The treadmill desks start at $1899 and are usually combined with sitting but Professor Dunstan says there are other solutions that don't cost a cent. "Some of those changes could include the introduction of standing meetings, supporting standing in meetings, supporting standing at the back of the conference rooms we should be encouraging people to take a break from their sitting and engage in physical movement every 30 minutes" Take it from our standing professor. Who hasn't look back, "stand as often as you can, move as often as you can its good for your health and it's good for your heart."

Treadmill Desks