Recent studies have pointed out the dangers of spending too much time sitting, both at work and home. For example, a study by Toronto researchers found that the amount of time a person sits during the day is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and death.
The health hazards of excessive sitting are an issue for office workers. One way they can address these hazards is to stand more often. In fact, a new study from British researchers recommends that office workers use sit-stand desks for a minimum of two hours a day during working hours.
This daily quota should eventually be bumped up to four hours a day, breaking up prolonged periods of sitting with standing-based work and regular walks, the study says.
The research, by the University of Chester and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, was commissioned by Public Health England as a growing body of evidence links prolonged periods of physical inactivity with a heightened risk of serious illness and premature death.
The study’s authors point out that, in the UK, sedentary behaviour now accounts for 60% of people’s waking hours. “The evidence is clearly emerging that a first ‘behavioural’ step could be simply to get people standing and moving more frequently as part of their working day,” say the researchers, which is likely to be more achievable than targeted exercise.
To encourage all workers to move more at work:
- Give workers time off to exercise. For example, enable them to take an additional 30 minutes on top of their normal lunch break and be flexible about when they take this time during the day.
- Implement a wellness program that helps workers exercise more, eat better, etc. and rewards them for accomplishing wellness-related goals.