Recent research has shown that getting out of the office chair and walking may be more critical to an employee’s health than many employers realize. Sedentary work environments have been shown to increase levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) which decreases the body’s ability to break down fat; and also decrease levels of Lipase, an enzyme critical to burning fat as fuel for muscles. Fortunately, both of these adverse effects may be reversed by consistent daily walking and proper dietary selections. What recourse do employees have to boost their ability to burn excess fat when strapped to an office chair 8-10 hours a day? A desk.
Sitting all day at a desk dramatically reduces an employee’s metabolic rate thereby slowing their ability to burn calories as fuel. Additionally the production of Lipase, an enzyme essential for burning fat stores, virtually ceases. This combination of factors translates into weight gains for millions of American workers each year, decreasing productivity and increasing the likelihood for disease and higher health care costs.
New research has shown LDL serves as a regulator of fat cells. As LDL levels rise the body’s ability to break down fats decreases and an employee is more apt to retain fat, and gain weight. Previous research also showed that the release of fatty acids from fat cells increased the production of precursors of LDL as well, so the negative impact promotes a circular existence. Higher levels of LDL have also been shown to promote atherosclerosis.
It sounds far fetched at first but one could make the argument that employers are unwittingly creating unhealthy environments for workers by not allowing or encouraging more physical movement throughout the day.
Most employees realize that as they age their metabolic rate slows and weight loss becomes more difficult however most are unaware that sedentary lifestyles make it virtually impossible for the body to burn calories efficiently. Prolonged periods of inactivity route calories to fat stores rather than to muscles to be burned as fuel. The answer seems clearer than ever that in order to lose weight employees need to move more.
There really is no magic bullet answer however it is apparent that the most efficient means of combating the damage caused by inactive work environments is to increase the levels of activity. Treadmill desks offer employee’s the opportunity to complete their work, lose weight and maintain their health, without ever leaving the office.