Do you work in an office? Well, it’s time to stand up for your health.
Many of us spend at least 7 hours a day sitting down, with some spending as many as 10 hours on some form of seating – working at a computer, on the train or in the car. It’s a part of the modern working life. But new evidence has proven that sitting down for such a long time not only impacts on posture, but is also having a profound effect on our national health.
A panel of experts at Public Health England has warned office workers to stand up for at least two hours a day for the good of their health. They hope that by publishing the first official guidelines on the subject, they’ll encourage workplaces to create less sedentary and more active environments for their employees.
A small amount of activity, or standing for just two hours a day could increase productivity, and profitability and, most important of all, the general health and wellbeing of office workers.
Why is Sitting Down So Bad?
‘Sitting is the new smoking’, say some experts. There is growing evidence that sitting down in a sedentary position for long periods of time can increase the risk of chronic diseases like obesity, type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Studies have shown that those who sit the longest have shown a 112% increase in risk of diabetes, 147% increase in cardiovascular disease and a staggering 49% increase in cases of death from any cause.
Sitting slows the metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat. The new guidance, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, recommended that desk-based occupations should work towards accumulating two hours per day of standing and light activity during working hours.
Take short, but active breaks regularly, and incorporate the use of standing desks into your office environment. If you can’t supply one for everyone, install a few on a rotation basis. Companies need to promote health and well-being initiatives, and schemes to encourage their workers to incorporate activity, movement and standing into their daily work routine.
“This research supports the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations to minimise how much we sit still. Being active is good for your physical and mental health. Simple behaviour changes to break up long periods of sitting can make a huge difference.”
Are you experiencing any health issues associated with sitting down for too long? If you need medical advice out-of hours, our GP in the Richmond area will be able to help, providing you are registered at one of these surgeries. Want to know more? Download and read the full Public Health England report here.