Most of us are guilty of it. I know I am. Sitting too much. We now sit for longer than we sleep each day. We’ve known for some time that excessive sitting has been linked to diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease, musculoskeletal problems & even early death.1 So detrimental are the health effects, it’s been labeled ‘the new smoking’.
We are becoming increasingly sedentary in both our personal & working lives creating a double-whammy effect. The transport industry, highly mechanised roles & office-based employees are particularly at risk.
Think exercising every day gets you off the hook? Think again. Those like myself who exercise daily are just as much at risk. New guidelines released by the British Journal of Sports Medicine urge employers to change their workplace culture & practices to avoid prolonged periods of sedentary work. The guidelines recommend desk-based workers spend at least two hours of their working day standing, gradually progressing to a total of 4 hours per day.
Even Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is following the advice of health experts & using a standing desk in his parliamentary office. 2
But apart from the health benefits, moving more throughout the day has a host of other benefits. Improved communication with colleagues, increased productivity & heightened creativity to name a few. Richard Branson is a big fan of walking meetings for these reasons ‘I find it to be a much quicker way of getting down to business, making a decision & sealing the deal’. 3
So what can you do to quit the sit? Try these quick & easy tips during your working day.
Tip 1: Have lunch away from your desk
Tip 2: Invest in a good stand-up workstation
Tip 3: Swap your coffee meeting for a walking meeting with colleagues or clients
Tip 4: Encourage standing meetings – whether face-to-face or on the telephone
Tip 5: Head out for walk around the neighbourhood at lunch
Tip 6: Drink more water so you have to go to the water cooler (& bathroom) more often
Tip 7: Use an active way of commuting (walk or ride a bike, stand up in the train)
1. VicHealth. (2012). Reduced prolonged sitting in the workplace. Victorian Heath Promotion Foundation, Melbourne, Australia. Available at: www.vichealth.vic.gov.au.
2. British Journal of Sports Medicine (2015) The sedentary office: a growing case for change towards better health & productivity. Expert statement commissioned by Public Health England & the Active Working Community Interest Company. Available: http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2015/04/23/bjsports-2015-094618
3. Smart Company (2015) Malcolm Turnbull works from a standing desk: Should you do the same? Source: http://www.smartcompany.com.au/people/48898-malcolm-turnbull-works-from-a-standing-desk-should-you-do-the-same.html
4. Branson, Richard (2015) Why you should stand up in meetings, Source: https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/why-you-should-stand-up-in-meetings