We spend a lot more time on our office chairs than we think. We don’t even notice that we usually spend at least 10 hours a day on an office chair.
No wonder doctors and chiropractors keep telling us that “sitting is the new smoking”. And while we want to sit less and move more, data is showing that that’s not easily done.
We’re glued to an office chair the same way we’re glued to our laptops. And it’s not surprising that when we need to get a few things around us, we use our office chairs to get them.
So let’s take a look at how much distance we cover by just using our office chairs to get from point A to point B.
Table of Contents
How many miles per year do I travel on my office chair?
On average, we travel around 8 miles a year on an office chair. This is assuming that your chairs have wheels on them and you work 10 hours a day, 262 days a year.
Of course, this is a rough estimate and this distance can go higher or lower depending on the distances you cover while sitting on your chair.
For example, you’re the type of person that uses the chair to get water, print documents, or go to your co-worker’s area. If you do this a few times in a day, then 8 miles might be a shorter distance than what you actually travel.
On the other hand, if you’ve been making an effort to stand up when you need to talk or get something, then this estimate could be lower.
8 miles traveling on your office chair for a year is a long distance considering that doctors advise against sitting on your chair for long periods of time and avoiding standing up once in a while.
How far are 8 miles?
8 miles on an office chair seems far, but let’s put things into perspective here. How far are 8 miles anyway?
If you’re traveling from The White House and planning to go to Bladensburg Waterfront Park, this distance is a mile less than 8 miles. And if you’re wondering how many times you should walk across The White House in one direction to reach 8 miles, then that’s 251 times!
The width of Manhattan at its widest point is 2.3 miles. To reach 8 miles, you can walk 3.5 times across the whole of Manhattan!
When you compare the height of the Empire State Building, it’s only 0.5 miles, which is too short compared to the distance you travel on your office chair.
However, if you’ve walked the whole park of Disney World, then 8 miles is just 50% of the distance that you would normally take in this amusement park in a day.
And if you’re wondering how 8 miles would fare against the Grand Canyon’s length, it’s just 3% of the whole Canyon (the whole length is 277 miles).
From a health perspective, a mile has an equivalent of 2,000 steps. If your goal is to reach 10,000 steps a day, then you should be reaching around 5 miles for this goal.
Why is sitting for too long bad for you?
There are many health risks linked to sitting too long on a chair. Let’s talk about some of the more popular health risks.
Back and Neck Pains
Even if you have an ergonomic office chair, sitting too long in that chair still won’t be as healthy as you think. This is because, over time, the muscles in your back and neck get tired.
And when you slouch, there’s even more tension that’s created in these areas.
The best way to avoid any back and neck pains is to adjust your ergonomic chair in such a way that your spine is rested properly and the lumbar support is placed on your lower back.
Higher Risk of Getting Diabetes
Those who sit longer hours are known to have increased resistance and insulin. Insulin is the substance that helps manage glucose levels.
When our bodies start to reject or slow down the use of insulin, this is when we develop diabetes.
One study showed that the culprit here is inactivity. So if you’ve been traveling on your chair when getting files or coffee, maybe it’s time to start getting up and moving around.
Anxiety or Depression
Apparently, sitting for long hours and having a sedentary lifestyle could lead to anxiety or depression. In one study held in Myanmar and Vietnam, the longer the hours that you’re sedentary has a correlation with being anxious or depressed.
This could be because a sedentary lifestyle doesn’t allow your body to move and produce hormones that help regulate mood swings.
How do you lessen traveling in an office chair?
Think about this: 8 miles is equivalent to 251 back and forth walks of the whole White House. That’s a lot even if this is the distance traveled throughout a year.
Couple that with the knowledge that there are serious health risks linked to having a sedentary life.
My advice is that we can all start small – instead of rolling your chair to the coffee machine, you get up, grab your mug, and walk to it. You can do the same thing when you need to get files from the printing machine.
Starting small by just standing up to grab things can help you reduce those 8 miles that you spend traveling on a chair.
8 miles traveled on an office chair for a year doesn’t seem a lot until you put it into perspective. Those 8 miles turn out to be very long especially since it could lead to adverse health effects.
We can always reduce this distance if we make small changes in the way we use our office chair. Instead of rolling your chair to places, you can just stand up and get your things.
That way, 8 miles of traveling are lessened and you enjoy a healthier life.
My name is Vance, and I am the owner of To Ergonomics. Our mission is to improve your workflow by helping you create a supportive and welcoming environment. We hope that you’ll find what you’re looking for while you’re here.