Sedentary Lifestyle Can Accelerate the Aging Process

October 24, 2019

A woman is sitting and eating junk food
Rasheed Huma

A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to an increased risk of a plethora of age-related ailments, including but not limited to obesity, diabetes, heart attack, osteoporosis, and certain cancers. Even worse is twice the risk of premature death that comes with leading a sedentary lifestyle for two decades.

Despite the adverse effects of a desk-bound lifestyle, we’re so tied-up to our work-desks that we spend hours and hours sitting. Our bodies are thus aging pretty faster today so much so that our biological age (the rate at which your body ages) has surpassed our chronological age (the one in your passport).

Sedentary behavior incites Telomere Shortening

As you age, so do your cells. Essential components of your cell’s DNA heavily affected by aging are the “telomeres,” the protective caps which sit at the end of chromosomes.

You can think of telomeres as the “aglets,” plastic tips at the end of shoelaces, which protect your shoelaces from fraying. Just like without the plastic tips, your shoelaces get frayed, DNA strands also fray without the telomeres. With age, telomeres start shortening until they eventually disappear. Telomere shortening is what incites the break down of your aging cells. It is when these telomeres shorten that age-related ailments sneak up.

Research unravels that too much sitting shortens the telomere length and thereby speeds up biological aging. In contrast, the less time you spend sitting, the longer the telomeres, and the greater your likelihood of living longer.

If you spend a major portion of your day sitting at your work desk, you’re bound to age faster even if you exercise. In fact, it’s not even possible to exercise away the harmful effects of excessive sitting. Your cells have to pay the price of too much sitting sooner or later.  

Ditch your Sedentary Behavior and Prevent Aging

Working longer in the technology era is likely a necessity, but this shouldn’t hold you back from leading a more active lifestyle and staying young longer. Remember, aging is a dynamic process that can be sped up or slowed down, and at times, even reversed. Here are a few workplace and lifestyle tweaks to slow down your aging process.

Try a Standing Desk

One of the best secrets to combat an aging, sedentary lifestyle at work is to trade in your regular desk for a standing desk. You’ll have several different options to consider. Standing desks include stationary desks with increased heights or height-adjustable desks, allowing you to sit and stand as needed. Standing while working may take a little time getting used to, but it is one of the most beneficial habits for which your future health will thank you. Because most of your day is spent at work, the limited sitting time due to the use of a standing desk can prevent health issues down the road and add quality years to your life.

Use a Desk Riser

A more cutting-edge addition to a standing desk is a desk riser. While experts suggest taking breaks from work to stand up or stretch, doing so is not always possible as it might risk the flow of your work by interrupting it.

This is where the role of desk risers like the FlexiSpot’s ClassicRiser comes into play. With this desk riser, you don’t have to worry about transitioning from sitting to standing as it takes very little effort to do so — even with a 35 lbs desktop load. You can simply press the single hand bar and lift using 13 lbs of force. Lowering it back hardly entails 3 lbs of force — not to mention the optimal stabilization when lifting and lowering. What’s more, it’s designed to fit users up to 6'1'' tall. The FlexiSpot desk risker thus allows you to alternate between standing and sitting throughout your day. Sounds like a win-win!

Pedal a Desk Bike

With a hectic work schedule, it might not always be possible to meet the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. How about sneaking in some exercise at work? Another simple yet effective way to hack your telomeres and live longer is to invest in stationary desk bikes.

Especially worth mentioning are the FlexiSpot All-in-One Desk Bikes - Deskcise Pro. These innovative bikes enable you to stay active while you’re at your computers. They have mobile, spacious desktops that can be moved forward, backward, up, or down according to your comfort. You’ll also be getting whisper-quiet (our bikes don’t make squeaking noises), calorie-burning workout, and muscle-building perks. The goal is to rope you in to keep moving while working, thus slowing down your biological age clock.

Cut down Sedentary Time at Home

Research reveals that while using sit-to-stand workstations in the office greatly reduce sitting time at work, there’s a catch! You may slightly increase your sitting time outside of working hours, undoing the beneficial effects of reduced sitting at work. You don’t want that to happen. We, therefore, recommend adopting strategies to limit sedentary time at home as well. These strategies could include:

  • Doing chores around your house, such as mopping, vacuuming, dusting, or cleaning.
  • Doing some yard work like mowing, gardening, raking leaves.
  • Using a treadmill or desk bike while watching TV
  • Taking a walk around your neighborhood.

Sign Up to Receive Our Newsletter & Get the Best Ergonomic Tips