Sitting Hurts!

The average full time worker spends about 8 hours a day at the office. Depending on your occupation, a lot of that time can be spent sedentary. Sedentary behaviour is defined as a period of behaviour assumed during waking hours where you are expending minimal energy (e.g. sitting, lying down). As I’m sure most people are aware, too much sedentary time is not good… So much so that when the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology published their updated Physical Activity Guidelines, they also published Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines.

A report published by the UK government in 2010 investigated the prevalence of sedentary behaviour in adults as well as any of the health consequences that have been associated with it. The authors found that adults reported sitting more than 5 hours of their day including work and leisure time. Another figure from a smaller study found that adults fitted with activity trackers spend 50-60% of their day sedentary.

So what are the implications?

The report found that in adults, sedentary behaviour was associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndrome (which is a cluster of symptoms associated with increased risk of CVD and heart disease). As you can imagine, these conditions are also associated with an increased financial burden on the NHS, as well as the workplace in days lost due to illness.

What do we do now?

So you could say well why don’t I just stand all day. On the right track, however standing still is almost as bad as sitting still. But alternating standing and sitting, walking around the office, or even throwing in a lunchtime walk can help. As we’ve already discussed in a previous blog, any exercise is good exercise. Get up to take your calls if you have a cordless phone, walk a memo to a colleague instead of e-mailing through, or challenge yourself to get out the office for your breaks or lunch in an effort to move more. All it takes is one or two in the office to start the trend, and what was once a challenge to get up and move becomes habit.

If you’re interested in learning more about getting active in the workplace don’t hesitate to contact us at

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