Reader Mail

Companies can help prevent 'sitting disease'

Benefits of modern technology are overflowing into our everyday lives and in certain aspects, helping us pursue healthiness. While some address health issues by efficiently using machines, others have become vulnerable to the tide of automation and are pinned to their computer desks. Suggestions have risen that prolonged hours of sitting can relate to fatal consequences such as heart disease, and health experts have referred to this issue as “sitting disease.”

Nowadays, fewer occupations require physical activity, leaving workers static for long periods. In addition to being overweight and obese, we are prone to not activating key enzymes in our blood stream, leading to metabolic syndrome. The simple preventive advice from experts is to periodically stand, walk and contract one’s muscles. Yet short extensive exercise sessions may not be enough to reverse the negatives of sitting disease.

My proposition is that companies step up and implement policies to prevent prolonged sitting. Adopting helpful routines, such as employees emptying their trash bin several times a day, situating the copying machine at the far end of the office and promoting the use of stairs are small changes that could benefit our circulation. Also, promoting walking by using pedometer apps and, when targets are attained, rewarding employees with points or discounts usable in cafeterias and corporate facilities, could work to promote physical activity. Introducing standing meeting rooms and phone stations could also be beneficial.

In their subconscious, people acknowledge the necessity to exercise but find it difficult to act and change their lifestyles. Countermeasures from the corporate sector would be an effective environmental approach that would not just play a vital role in reinforcing employees to confront this health-threatening issue with incentives but to boost corporate reputations. After all, employee longevity will add to corporate prosperity and benefit both labor and management in the long run.

HIROTO HAYASHI
FUJISAWA, KANAGAWA PREFECTURE

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.