Every morning you settle into your desk with a cup of coffee around 9 am to catch up on yesterday’s emails. Fast-forward five hours and you realize you haven’t gotten up from your seat once.
There are some very scary effects of leading a mostly sedentary lifestyle and this includes sitting or lying down for more than just a couple of hours a day. We look at how resting on our rears can affect the body negatively and what we can to do minimise the impact on our health:
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A comprehensive review of studies on sedentary behavior in the UK found that people who sit for hours on end are 90 per cent more likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke.
“Muscles will adapt to repetitive positioning by changing their cellular makeup, which in time, can cause them to get smaller and less defined,” says biochemist Katy Bowman. Blood flow also reduces when you’re excessively sitting and this can lead to weaker muscles.
Because the body’s muscles are not working as hard when you’re at rest, they aren’t burning up any calories. So sugars remain in your bloodstream for longer, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Emerging studies indicate that being bottom-bound can increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer, including lung, uterine and colon cancers.
Being crammed into a chair all day long can see you pile on the kilograms. That’s because when you’re sitting, digestion is not as efficient, causing your body to retain the fats and sugars that you eat through your diet.
“Humans were not designed to sit. For thousands of years, we hunted and grew food and spent most of our lives upright,” adds Dr James Levine, author of Get Up!. “Sitters die sooner – for every hour you sit, two hours of your life walk away.” Small wonder then that sitting has been dubbed the new smoking.
If you have to sit, choose wisely! You can beat the harmful effects of being too sedentary by engaging your muscles as often as you can throughout the day by changing the way you sit. Experts call this active sitting and it’s as simple as switching up the chair you use at work or at home.
The Ing chair by Kokuyo is specially designed to keep you moving, even when you’re sitting.
How? It features an innovative 360-degree gliding mechanism that engages your core and keeps your muscles active. In short, it mimics the action of sitting on an exercise ball but with all the ergonomic comfort that perching on an actual chair provides.
“We’ve always looking to drive up our market leadership by providing solutions for the workforce, especially here where office executives who spend up to seven hours sitting are looking for ways to improve their physical health and psychological wellbeing,” says Hiro Yamaoka, Managing Director of Kokuyo Singapore.
Tests conducted by the heritage 113-year-old Japanese brand also found that users who ‘sitxercise’ on the Kokuyo Ing chair demonstrated higher levels of concentration. Great news for those of us that suffer from brain fog at the office!
We were lucky enough to be able to pay a visit to the Kokuyo headquarters in Tokyo, Japan to catch a glimpse into how their office in Shinagawa functions. Kokuyo believes that health and wellness extends to the office too, and have created a work space that combines design and style to create solutions for the average office worker.
We also spoke to Mr Hidekuni Kuroda, Kokuyo’s President and CEO, who gave in some insight into the company’s legacy and its drive towards innovative solutions for offices of the future:
“We started our business with paper products and after that we moved on to paper stationery. Our founder then decided to focus on lifestyle products and they decided to create office supplies like paper containers. Right now, we are also supplying furniture and office solutions,” says Mr Kuroda-san.
“The borders between work-style and lifestyle is very vague right now so it’s hard to adapt to the needs of both for many enterprises. What Kokuyo is very good at doing is mixing these two worlds. We provide lifestyle furniture that can be used in the office and at home. This is a great opportunity for us to try new things in this space.”
“Right now, ABW (activity-based workstyle) is a very big trend in Japan. We have an issue in Japan that the government is trying to solve and this has to do with people working too much. They’re trying to change this work-style and are encouraging more people to spend time at home,” he explains.
“Work places in Japan used to be like a factory, you just churn things out like in a production line. Now, it’s become more like a living space. More offices look like café or a residential space and Kokuyo is able to meet this demand.”
“Kokuyo no longer produces regular office furniture. We’ve adapted into addressing workplace problems first. So when clients come to us, we discuss solutions with them. It’s not just about providing beautiful furniture, everything else we produce should be functional too. We have a 200-strong design workforce at the moment. We consult our clients, design the workspace and then put in the furniture so people can become more productive,” says Mr Kuroda-san.
“In Japan, we have a very strong brand so people recognize us and know our name. We used to have a Kokuyo signboard in many stationery stores across the country so people know us and we are a trusted brand. But among the younger generation, we’re not so popular,” he says.
“Young people go into convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Lawson to buy stationery, not specialized stores anymore. So we have to be more aspirational towards them, we have to show them what we they can be when they purchase Kokuyo stationery. Since we are a historical brand, we are known as very safe and stable but we have to show people that we can be innovative too.”