According to a new survey, commuting and sitting for long periods of time within an office environment could be just as dangerous for your health as smoking.
The survey, which was conducted by AXA Healthcare, asked 2,000 people about their daily schedule. The audience included those who sit at work for nine hours a day and asked them to include time spent travelling to their office.
Almost 50% of respondents said that they spend up to six hours of their working day sitting down, thus limiting the amount of time they spend being active. A quarter of people were also found to spend between seven and eight hours being sedentary; receiving extremely minimal levels of activity.
AXA Healthcare reports that this level of activity is extremely concerning and could contribute to bad chronic health problems as much as smoking. It also explained that the lack of activity could be the reasoning behind the rise in type 2 diabetes cases.
Commenting on the survey, Jan Vickery of AXA PPP Healthcare, said: “We cannot escape from the fact that many of us do much of our day-to-day business on our bottoms. To help bring this home, this nine-hour sit-time is tantamount to a UK flight to the Caribbean and, while it’s encouraging that some are taking steps to lower the risks associated with prolonged sitting, it’s a concern that, for others, this seems to be a low priority.”
Obesity is a condition associated with prolonged periods of sitting down and inactivity which in extreme circumstances, can lead to heart disease and some forms of cancer. Because of this, the NHS has released guidelines that recommend healthy adults participate in at least 150 minutes of exercise every week.
This long period spent being inactive can also impact the body’s metabolism. This then affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, break down fat and control blood pressure.
Almost 50% of those who took part in the survey reported that they “didn’t mind” being sedentary for the majority of their day, with a third saying that they were “happy” with their periods of inactivity.
Despite this, it seems like our health is proving to take a toll. Nearly three-quarters of those who took part in the survey admitted to suffering from back, neck or shoulder problems. Just 36% said that they tried to be more active throughout the day.