Employees need alternatives to sitting, AMA says

The use of an isometric ball at work instead of a traditional office chair is better for your body, the AMA says. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON – Work is no excuse. It’s time for employees to get off their derrieres and start moving.

The American Medical Association last week announced that mounting evidence shows sitting around for long periods of time is unhealthy.

The AMA called on employers to find alternatives – including treadmills, standing work stations or isometric balls – to help their employees stay fit and healthy..

The Los Angeles Times reports research shows that sitting down all day might burn about 350 calories a week. But jobs where workers exert themselves can burn 2,000 calories on top of that. In addition, it’s better for circulation and the heart.

“Prolonged sitting, particularly in work settings, can cause health problems, and encouraging work places to offer employees alternatives to sitting all day will help to create a healthier workforce,” AMA board member Dr. Patrice Harris said in a statement.

In addition, the AMA issued a statement regarding obesity.

“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” said Harris.

“The AMA is committed to improving health outcomes and is working to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, which are often linked to obesity.”

When it comes to lifespan, sitting is the new smoking, says Dr. Anup Kanodia, a physician at the Center for Personalized Health Care at Ohio State University.

“Heart disease, diabetes, musculoskeletal issues – when you put all those things together, it’s how long you live,” he says.

For those who don’t have access to treadmills at work, or just can’t get away from the desk, Kanodia offers these suggestions:

  • Set an alarm every hour you’re at work. When it goes off, get up and walk for a minute.
  • Stand up when you’re talking on the phone.
  • Use a small water glass, forcing frequent trips to the water cooler.

WTOP’s David Burd and Andrew Mollenbeck contributed to this report. Follow @DavidBurdWTOP, @MollenbeckWTOP, @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter.

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